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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

A Sixth Democrat Enters The Race For Zinke's House Seat

Lee Neimark of Whitefish is the sixth Democrat to express interest in running for Ryan Zinke's seat in Congress.

A sixth Democrat has expressed intent to fill Montana’s House seat if Ryan Zinke is confirmed to lead the Interior Department under President Donald Trump. Nicky Ouellet reports.

Lee Neimark — or "Link,” as everyone in the Flathead Valley knows him — doesn’t have a background in politics, but says that’s an asset in today's political climate.

"Although I never saw myself heading in this direction, I see the opening, I see the opportunity, I feel it's my responsibility to step up and do what I can," Neimark says.

The Whitefish resident owns a small business, Rock Climb Montana, and is a 15-year ski instructor at Whitefish Mountain Resort, with a history working for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

He says those jobs have prepared him to replace current Representative Ryan Zinke. Last week a Senate committee voted in support of Zinke, who will face a confirmation vote from the full Senate in coming weeks.

"Gather the data, look for the evidence, be truthful, and be honest in your conclusions. That’s going to help," says Neimark.

Neimark says his top issues are education, healthcare, supporting the middle-class and clean energy.

He joins a slew of Democrats vying for the House seat, including state representatives Amanda Curtis and Kelly McCarthy, musician Rob Quist, John Meyer of Bozeman and Dan West of Missoula.

Six Republicans have paid the party's fee to be considered for the nomination as of last Friday.

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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