Great Falls Tribune: Chips down in Chester mayoral race

The battle for the mayor of Chester has come down to crunch time.

The small burg on Highway 2 has become the epicenter of an epic political battle between Cheetos pitchman Chester Cheetah and incumbent Noel Walston as they vie for the reins of the city with Election Day just around the corner.

Neither candidate has been shy about throwing mud the other’s way.

“What is Chester Cheetah trying to hide, and why is he always wearing sunglasses?” asks one of Walston’s campaign ads. “What was he doing in that hotel? Isn’t he just a corporate puppet?”

And then the parting shot: “I’m mayor Noel Walston, a real human being, and I approve this message.”

Yes, Walston went there.

The Cheetah, though, won’t even acknowledge his role in the mudslinging.

“Friends, I refuse to run a dirty campaign, so my campaign manager is running it for me,” he says in another advertisement, which can be found on the Big Cat’s YouTube page at and his official campaign website at You also can follow along with Chester on Twitter at @ChesterCheetah or with Walston at @NoelWalston, where he has all of 13 tweets.

Another ad implores: “Noel Walston. His name is not even Chester” and then asks “Why vote for anyone whose name starts with No when you can vote for someone whose name rhymes with Yes (long pause) ter.”

Recent on-the-street polling showed many of the fine residents of Chester initially leaning toward the known Noel Walston, saying things like, he’s a “good man,” and “dependable” and sharing similar “moral standards” or even the fact that he gave one potential voter new doorknobs. Another person said, “We need a person.”

However, the polling then showed what happened when the potential voters were given a bag of Cheetos.

“I think I could probably cast a vote in this direction,” a man said.

One line from the Cheetah’s campaign drove home the point: “Noel Walston, no free Cheetos.”

Walston was afraid of the influence of Big Snack from the beginning.

“It can’t be all fun and games,” he said when rumors first started in August that the Cheetah was going to run. “There has to be meat and potatoes, and you don’t know who controls him.”

Even a U.S. senator has taken notice of the contest.

“I’m not taking sides in this cheesy campaign, but I’ll take another bag of Cheetos! #MoreCheetosLessGovt,” tweeted Sen. Steve Daines.