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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

The Montana Democratic Party convenes to elect new officers

The Montana Democratic Party convened over the weekend to elect new officers. Those who won say they’re focused on turning around the party’s losing streak.

The Democrats’ convention in Butte over the weekend was largely uncontentious. Most agreed on a goal to recruit new voters and win back seats they’ve lost.

Delegates re-elected Chair Robyn Driscoll and Vice Chair Pat Noonan, both former legislators, to lead the party. Noonan said he’s ready for the challenge.

“It has been an honor over these last two years. Especially in the circumstances we are in. And I look forward to trying to dig us out of this hole,” Noonan said.

In 2020, after holding the governors’ office for 16 years, Democrats lost all statewide elections. In 2022, Republicans won supermajorities in the Montana Legislature. In 2024, Democrats aim to gain some of that power back and keep their last stronghold — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester — in office.

State Sen. Pat Flowers of Belgrade urged fellow Democrats to consider signing up for training that aims to teach candidates how to successfully campaign in rural areas.

“We need to win more seats in rural Montana in order to get our majority back in the House and the Senate,” Flowers said.

Montana Democrats haven’t held a majority in the statehouse since 2007. For the first time in more than a decade, legislative candidates will run in districts redrawn with new census data. Projections show Democrats could win back about 10 seats, but that would still keep them in the minority.

Delegates at the convention also praised the creation of three new Democratic Central Committees in rural counties hoping party outreach in those areas will galvanize new voters.

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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