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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Rep Greg Gianforte Launches Gubernatorial Campaign

Rep. Greg Gianforte at his Washington D.C. office, May 2018.
Eric Whitney
Montana Public Radio
Rep. Greg Gianforte at his Washington D.C. office, May 2018.

Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte kicked off his campaign with a YouTube video that opens with scenes of Montana’s sweeping backcountry vistas, small towns and ranching lifestyle.

Narrator: Montana. A place of awesome beauty, strong communities and hard-working people.

The announcer then declares that in order for Montana to reach its fullest potential, it needs a conservative leader that, "shares our values."

According to the campaign video those values include support for the Second Amendment, job creation, opposition to sanctuary cities and protecting access to public lands – which, perhaps not coincidentally, was a hot topic during his failed 2016 gubernatorial race against incumbent Democrat Steve Bullock.

Gianforte’s decision to run prompted Tim Fox to come out swinging today.

Fox is Montana’s attorney general who is also seeking the Republican nomination in the governor’s race.

In a press release issued Friday, Fox spokesman Jack Cutter says, "Greg is abandoning his constituents to run for governor for the second time in three years."

The statement then notes that Gianforte was the only statewide Republican candidate to lose his election in 2016 – the year that Donald Trump swept Montana by 20 points.

The Associated Press reports that Gianforte said it was unfortunate that Fox is starting the race negatively.

Secretary of State Corey Stapleton says he’ll make a big announcement  about his 2020 election plans Saturday morning. He did not elabortate.

State Sen. Al Olszewski plans to remain in the governor’s race. Former state senator Gary Perry is also seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates include former State Rep. Reilly Neill and State House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner.

The Gianforte campaign did not respond to our interview request today.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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