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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Gianforte Campaigns At Arlee Powwow

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Corin Cates-Carney
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Repbublican candidate for governor Greg Gianforte and his team meet people at the Arlee Celebration Friday

The Republican candidate for Governor made an appearance during the Arlee powwow over the weekend as the GOP reaches out to native voters.

Over a loudspeaker at the Arlee Celebration Friday, the candidate introduced himself: “I’m Greg Gianforte and I’m pleased to be with you and wish you a wonderful powwow.…” The Bozeman software entrepreneur running to unseat incumbent Democratic governor Steve Bullock hosted a BBQ feed and gave a brief speech during the grand entry.

It wasn’t a campaign speech; it was just an introduction, a chance for Greg Gianforte to build a bridge to the state’s native populations and voters on the Flathead Reservation.

“When I’m elected governor I need to be governor of the entire state," Gianforte said, "and our tribal nations are an important part of Montana, and I think it is really critical, you can’t build relationships if you’re not there being with the people.”

Gianforte has campaigned on the message of economic growth and high wage jobs throughout the state. He says those are important issues to every Montanan.

“We need to do more to bring prosperity to the reservations,” he said.

According to the Native American voting rights advocacy group Four Directions, native communities make up almost eight percent of Montana’s population, and are the state's largest minority group.

Gianforte says he will continue to travel to Montana’s reservations over the summer as he receives invitations to visit.

His travels highlight a push among members of the Montana GOP to reach out to native communities, whose voting is perceived to trend Democratic.

Sixty-nine percent of Native Americans voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 election, according to democrats.org.

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