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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Jack Ballard Ends US Senate Campaign

Graphic: Montana Public Radio News, Politics

Montana Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ballard announced Friday that he’s ending his campaign. The writer and photographer from Red Lodge says earlier this week he was diagnosed with symptoms of a heart condition.

Ballard wrote in a statement Friday that he “made a final decision to cease the campaign” on the advice of his doctor and family.

Following the announcement of his run for the U.S. Senate in July, Ballard, an avid skier, compared it to a steep downhill race.

"If you will push out with confidence and you will drive yourself forward -- it's gonna be scary at times, you're gonna make mistakes. But you will finish that race and you will look back up at the course and you will say, 'By golly, I want to do that again. It’s been one hell of a ride.'"

Ballard did not go into specifics of his diagnosis, but wrote “if treated with care is not immediately life threatening, but is serious.”

The abrupt end of Ballard’s run leaves Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins and Navy veteran and engineer John Mues, from Loma, in the Democratic Party primary for the 2020 U.S. Senate election.

Party members have called on Gov. Steve Bullock to abandon his presidential ambitions to take on incumbent Republican Steve Daines, but Bullock has repeatedly rejected the idea.

Analysis from The Cook Political Report says Montana’s Senate seat heading into the 2020 race is solidly in the hands of Daines and the race is not considered competitive.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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