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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Williams Surprise Winner Of Montana Democratic House Primary

Kathleen Williams announcing her candidacy for Montana's U.S. House seat at a restaurant in Bozeman, October 26, 2017
Eric Whitney

Despite raising less than half as much money as her top opponents, Kathleen Williams appears to have won the Democratic primary for Montana’s lone U-S house seat.

“What this campaign shows is that money isn’t everything and message is everything and service is everything," Williams said early this morning. "We’re going to run as we have been to serve Montana and serve better.”

Results for Williams and Billings Attorney John Heenan were neck and neck all night. The Associated Press didn't call it for Williams until after 4:00 AM Wednesday, when the Montana Secretary of State’s office showed Williams with 1,739 more votes than Heenan. That’s out of a total of 108,982 ballots cast, and all but 14 of Montana's 669 precincts reporting full results. 

Missoula’s Grant Kier was seen as an early favorite in the race, but conceded defeat about three hours after polls closed.

Williams, the only woman running in Montana’s primaries says she won because she was the most experienced candidate. She says she can beat incumbent Republican Greg Gianforte:

“This campaign has already united progressives, independents, and moderate republicans," Williams said. "I’ve had wonderful conversations with republicans that are ready to support this campaign and ready to reintroduce civil dialogue and solutions to congress. And get beyond the divisiveness that is characterizing our dialog. And I think Montana is ready to do something different.”

Williams will face freshman incumbent Greg Gianforte in the race for Montana’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives this fall. She says she plans to focus on reaching across the aisle rather than trying to match Congressman Gianforte’s aggressive fundraising.

Nora Saks is a reporter and producer based in Butte, MT.
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