HAMILTON, Mont. -

Voters in the Bitterroot favored Republicans in all major races.

If they went against the tide in the presidential election, and some key state races, local GOP leaders got a resounding endorsement from ballot boxes in the Bitterroot.

Voters handed the keys of local government to Republicans.

Incumbent Republican County Commissioner Greg Chilcott had more than 60 percent of the unofficial count to his Democrat challenger Dave Smith.

Chilcott wants to push the development of extractive industries.

"Timber, mining," said Chilcott, "we know or heard that they're looking at some mining exploration in south county, which is very exciting."

Anybody who has paid attention to local politics in recent years might not have been surprised at the Republican landslide.

The GOP has a strong presence in Ravalli County. But it's not the only presence.

Ann Harding is a Democrat who runs a picture frame shop in Hamilton. The business woman is disappointed Democrats didn't do better. But she wasn't surprised at the outcome.

She worries an activist commission, pushing for natural resource development, could threaten the Bitterroot's beautiful amenities.

"Being a conservative person means to protect the basic reason that are the foundations of all economies," said Harding. "Human beings first, and natural resources the other."

Harding said it is important for a Republican stronghold to consider alternative viewpoints.

No doubt, Democrats and other non-Republicans will have plenty to offer.