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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gov. Gianforte will appoint a new state campaign cop in January

The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess
Montana Public Radio
The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.

After meeting and interviewing five candidates Wednesday, a committee of lawmakers failed to find consensus to pick finalists for the job of Commissioner of Political Practices.

With current Commissioner Jeff Mangan meeting the end of his six-year term, Gianforte must appoint a new leader of the office that enforces state campaign finance, ethics and lobbying laws.

A committee of four lawmakers interviewed five candidates Wednesday and was tasked with picking finalists to advance to Gianforte, but they failed to find consensus.

Republican Rep. Wylie Galt said all are capable of moving forward.

“I don’t feel comfortable dropping any of them back with what I saw out of the five candidates today.”

Democratic Sen. Jill Cohenour took issue with some candidates’ past work in politics, but her motion to advance just two candidates failed.

“I think it’s difficult for people who are in the political realm to feel safe working with someone who’s been pretty hyper partisan in the past.”

The candidates are Chris Gallus, a longtime attorney who’s represented conservative interests; Republican Public Service Commissioner Brad Johnson; Layne Kertamus, a consultant who identified himself as a Republican; business owner Debbie White-Goetze who’s worked in Republican politics in Alaska; and data analyst Megan Martin with the Montana Board of Crime Control.

Gianforte’s pick must be confirmed by the State Senate before assuming office.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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