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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

All candidates other than Zinke responded to our interview requests

Former Interior secretary and Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke.
Nicky Ouellet
Montana Public Radio
Former Interior secretary and Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke.

Over the last two weeks, Montana Public Radio aired interviews with candidates running to represent Montana’s western district in the U.S. House.

MTPR asked for interviews from all candidates actively campaigning. Our deadline was May 13, the same day primary ballots were mailed to voters.

MTPR reached out to the Zinke campaign multiple times over several months. His campaign responded once saying they would get back to MTPR when Zinke was available for an interview. They did not respond to follow up emails.

Zinke represented Montana previously in the U.S. House before he was appointed Secretary of the Interior by former President Donald Trump. Trump has endorsed Zinke in the primary race.

Zinke left his post as Secretary of the Interior after two years amid investigations into ethics complaints against him. The agency found earlier this year that he did not comply with ethics obligations. Zinke has called the report a “political hit job.”

Zinke was a U.S. Navy Seal and served in the state Legislature.

Zinke leads all primary candidates in fundraising with $2.5 million in the bank. The primary election is June 7.

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