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The latest Montana politics, elections and Legislature news.

Bishop leaves race for Montana's western U.S. House seat

Laurie Bishop
Laurie Bishop

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Democratic State Rep. Laurie Bishop bowed out of the race for Montana’s new U.S. House seat on Thursday, a week after the congressional district boundaries were finalized, leaving her hometown of Livingston outside of the district in which she was running.

Bishop had launched her candidacy in July, becoming the first Democrat to enter the race for the state’s newly announced western U.S. House district. At the time, she said she would run in the district that includes liberal college town Missoula even if Livingston was not placed in the same district.

Montana was awarded the second U.S. House seat starting in 2023 based on its growing population in the recent U.S. Census results. The election is scheduled for November 2022, with a primary to be held in June 2022.

The state’s nonpartisan redistricting commission finalized the new district borders last week, leaving Bishop’s hometown of Livingston in the predominantly Republican eastern district.

Democrats believe they have a fighting chance in the western district, where booming college towns Bozeman and Missoula are Democratic strongholds.

Bishop said in an announcement Wednesday that she would instead run for reelection to the state House, saying in a statement that she would “continue to be a voice for those who feel like politicians have turned their back on them.”

Bishop’s departure leaves a Democratic field that includes former state lawmaker Tom Winter, public health professional Cora Neumann and lawyer Monica Tranel.

The Republican field includes pastor Mary Todd, former state lawmaker Al Olszewski and former U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, who leads the field in fundraising by a wide margin, according to campaign reports released last month.