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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Ted Schwinden, former Montana governor, dies at 98

Former Montana Governor Ted Schwinden
Former Montana Governor Ted Schwinden

Former Montana Gov. Ted Schwinden, a Democrat from Wolf Point, has died at the age of 98.

Schwinden was a wheat farmer and World War II veteran. He first served on the Wolf Point school board before winning Roosevelt County’s seat in the Montana House of Representatives.

Schwinden was elected lieutenant governor alongside Gov. Thomas Judge in 1976. He then challenged Judge in the 1980 Democratic primary and won. He served two terms as Montana’s governor, leading the state for most of the 1980s.

Schwinden was known for his openness and frank demeanor. He famously listed his home phone number in Helena’s phone book and routinely responded to constituent letters. In social media posts, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester called Schwinden “a great Montanan, a great governor and a top-notch guy.” Gov. Greg Gianforte commended Schwinden, writing that he “led a life of service to state and country.”

The state’s 19th governor died in Phoenix at his daughter’s home Saturday, surrounded by family, according to his obituary.

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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