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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Libertarians say they're not behind mailings attacking Ryan Zinke

John Lamb, Libertarian candidate for Montana's western district congressional seat, at a candidate forum in Missoula, MT, on August 8, 2022.
Freddy Monares
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John Lamb, Libertarian candidate for Montana's western district congressional seat, at a candidate forum in Missoula, MT, on August 8, 2022.

The Montana Libertarian Party is denouncing an outside effort to boost its candidate in the race for Montana’s new western congressional district.

The state’s Libertarian Party says it did not coordinate on mailers attacking the Republican congressional candidate, Ryan Zinke, and supporting the Libertarian candidate, John Lamb. Party Chair Sid Daoud believes the messaging is coming from national Democrats, which MTPR was not able to confirm.

Cook Political Report says the race for Montana’s first congressional seat is narrowing between Zinke and Democrat Monica Tranel. It could get even closer if Lamb pulls conservative votes away from Zinke.

Outside dark money groups have supported Libertarians in past Montana elections. In 2012, ProPublica reported that a Democratic-backed dark money group threw support behind Liberatrian candidate Dan Cox. The U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, won that election. In a news release, Montana Libertarian Party Chair, Daoud, called outside support for Lamb in the mailers a “trick” and an attempt to manipulate voters.

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.