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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Penny Ronning wins Democratic nomination for Montana's eastern district House seat

Penny Ronning.
Kayla Desroches
Yellowstone Public Radio
Penny Ronning

Unofficial election results show former Billings city councilwoman Penny Ronning secured the Democratic nomination for Montana’s eastern House district.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, Ronning had won 61% of more than 24,000 votes, beating first-time candidate Skylar Williams and late State Senator Mark Sweeney.

Ronning says the initial results show voters connected with her and her campaign.

"Because that’s what was most important to me, that we weren’t this political message. We were a message about the people of Montana and identifying with the people of Montana. So, that just overwhelms my heart with gratitude."

Sweeney passed away unexpectedly on May 6 and his name remained on the ballot. He had raised almost $96,000 compared to Ronning’s $47,000 and Williams’ $4,000.

Ronning will face Republican incumbent Matt Rosendale and likely Libertarian candidate Sam Rankin in the general election. Independent candidate Gary Buchanan has gathered enough signatures to qualify for the general election, but has yet to be certified.