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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Six Montana Republicans Interested In Filling Zinke's House Seat

Graphic: Montana Public Radio News, Politics

More than a half-dozen Republicans have expressed interest in running for Congressman Ryan Zinke’s seat if he confirmed as secretary of Interior next year. They include 29 year old State Representative Daniel Zolnikov of Billings. The three-term state representative says that he is most concerned about the national debt:

"We have not put a budget together for years that has passed. And the big reason behind it is a lack of communication. Both parties have literally demonized the other party to death," says Zolnikov.

Other Republican candidates include Billings District Judge Russell Fagg, Corvallis resident Gary Carlson, Bozeman construction contractor Eugene Graf IV, and state legislators Ed Buttrey of Great Falls and Scott Sales of Bozeman.

State Representative-elect Amanda Curtis is the currently the only Democrat to publicly indicate interest in replacing Zinke if he is confirmed. She’s a schoolteacher in Butte who ran unsuccessfully against Senator Steve Daines for a U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

Zinke was nominated last week to become Secretary of the Interior by President-elect Donald Trump. If he is confirmed, a special election will be held in Montana within 100 days of Zinke vacating his House seat.

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