Cole, Essmann advance in Billings mayoral race

BILLINGS – Bill Cole and Jeff Essmann are headed for a matchup to become Billings’ next mayor in the November general election.

Voters selected the two candidates from a pool of six during Tuesday’s primary election.

Cole, an attorney and current chairman of the Billings Chamber of Commerce board of directors and former president of the Yellowstone County Planning Board, picked up 7,719 votes, or 32 percent.

Essmann, a Republican state legislator, picked up 6,397 votes, or 27 percent.

Both served on the planning board together years ago.