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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Mark Sweeney, state senator and U.S. House candidate has died

Mark Sweeney
Montana Legislature
Mark Sweeney

A state senator and Democratic candidate for U.S. House in Montana’s eastern district died unexpectedly Friday night.

Mark Sweeney was 62. He was born in Miles City and later made Phillipsburg home. A statement from Sweeney’s family described him as a beloved father, husband and public servant.

He was first elected to the state Legislature in 2018 as a representative, and then again in 2020 as a senator. He previously served on the Deer Lodge County Commission and worked in natural resource management.

Democratic legislative leaders released a statement saying they’re heartbroken, and that Sweeney’s “good humor and friendly smile will be missed by his many friends and colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

Republican Senate President Mark Blasdel said in a statement he was shocked and saddened by the news, and called Sweeney a dedicated public servant.

Sweeney is survived by his wife, Sue, four children and two grandchildren. Two Democratic candidates remain in the race for the eastern district.

Shaylee began covering state government and politics for Montana Public Radio in August 2020. Originally from Belgrade, Montana, she graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program and previously worked as a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and UM’s Legislative News Service. Please share tips, questions and concerns by emailing shaylee.ragar@mso.umt.edu.