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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gianforte Expected To Join Gov Race; Bullock Campaign Hits A Snag

Congressman Greg Gianforte addresses a Montana Association of Counties meeting in Missoula Tuesday, May 1, 2018.
Eric Whitney
Montana Public Radio

One Montana politician may be getting ready to jump into campaign season. Another has hit a potential major snag in securing a spot on the national stage.

KTVH reportsthat Gianforte filed campaign fundraising papers with Montana's Office of Political Practices Thursday afternoon, making his campaign for the governor's office a near certainty.

Gianforte was elected to Montana’s at-large congressional seat during 2017’s special election to replace Ryan Zinke who resigned to become secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior

The Hill reports that Gianforte has discussed his political plans with several congressional GOP lawmakers.

If he steps into the governor's race he leaves the coveted House seat wide open. A Democrat hasn’t held that seat since Pat Williams left office in 1997.

Montana’s Republican Party convention is slated to begin next Thursday.

Four other Republicans have already thrown their hats into the primary, including: Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, state Sen. Al Olszewski, former state Sen. Gary Perry and Secretary of State Corey Stapleton.

Politico, meanwhile, reports Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has not yet qualified for the first debates of the Democratic presidential primaries.

20 candidates are set to appear in the late June debates. They qualify using one of two methods: by getting 65,000 donors with 200 donors in 20 states, or by getting 1 percent in at least three qualifying polls.

ABC News initially reported that Bullock made the final cut to appear on the debate stage, but the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that two ABC News/Washington Post polls would no longer qualify as eligible polls.

ABC reports that Bullock’s campaign slammed the development as arbitrary and made behind closed doors. The DNC counters that team Bullock had been aware of the change since March.

Updated  5:20 p.m., 06/06/19 to report that Gianforte filed campaign fundraising paperwork.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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