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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Brown concedes to Gustafson in contentious Supreme Court race

James Brown and Ingrid Gustafson
courtesy
James Brown and Ingrid Gustafson
See live election results for all Montana races after the polls close at 8 p.m.

Republican utility regulator James Brown has conceded a race for the Montana Supreme Court to incumbent justice Ingrid Gustafson.

According to election results from the Associated Press, Gustafson held a nearly 10 percentage point lead early Wednesday morning. The AP has not yet called the race.

In his concession statement, Brown congratulated Gustafson on her election and told supporters to “ we can’t give up on our shared goal to restore accountability in our judicial branch and bring balance to the Montana Supreme Court”

The highly politicized race became the most expensive in Montana history for the state Supreme Court.

Brown’s campaign received support from top GOP officials, the National Republican Leadership Judicial Fairness Initiative and the state’s business community.

Gustafson’s re-election campaign was backed by Democrats, former Republican Governor Marc Racicot, the Montana Trial Lawyers Association and Planned Parenthood PAC.

Gustafson was initially appointed to the high court in 2017 by former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. Before that, former Republican Gov. Judy Martz tapped Gustafson to become district court judge in Yellowstone County.

A press release from Montana Supreme Court candidate James Brown titled: James Brown Congratulates Ingrid Gustafson on Her Election in the Montana Supreme Court Race.
James Brown
A press release from Montana Supreme Court candidate James Brown congratulating Ingrid Gustafoson on her victory in the race.

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. 
Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.