Lewis and Clark County has more than 47,000 registered voters. It’s purple — in 2016 President Trump won the county, as did some of the biggest Republican names on the ballot. But Lewis and Clark also supported Democratic Governor Steve Bullock, and most of the Democrats running for statewide office. Our Capitol reporter Corin Cates-Carney spoke with voters at the Lewis and Clark county fairground this afternoon in Helena about what the big issues are for them in the midterm election.
Jeff Peterson: Jeff Peterson from Helena Montana.
Corin Cates-Carney: What kind of issues, and why do you support what you did?
Jeff Peterson: 185, I voted for that. I believe that the only way to get rid of the tobacco issue which kills people is to tax it so it can be used productively, as far as health care and things of that nature.
I-186 I vote no, it's a job killer.
And I voted solid R all the way down.
Corin Cates-Carney: The Republican candidates, Rosendale, Gianforte have been really supportive of President Trump. Is that something that sold you on them or was it something else about them as candidates?
Jeff Peterson: Looking at Tester his stance on the veterans, — I'm a veteran — and I don't feel that he has helped veterans. And Kathleen Williams, she's just just a liberal.
Robyn Boyle: My name is Robin Boyle. I Live in Helena, born and raised, and I work for the Department of Environmental Quality. I voted for Jon Tester. Personally I believe in what he stands for. More so, I don't believe in what the Republican candidate is and what he does. So, I think that Tester is a much better candidate.
I voted yes for I-185. I think it's really important that we increase taxes to sustain the Medicaid for people. So, I think it's really important.
Corin Cates-Carney: If you could just say your name and spell it for me.
Candace: Candace. I will vote for anything that he is against, anything that Trump is against, I'll vote for.
Corin Cates-Carney: You'll vote for the Democrats, then?
Corin Cates-Carney: What is it about Trump that you see so off-putting?
Candace: Don't even get me started. Too many things, but especially his treatment of women. I would not support him in any way.
Chris Couey: My name's Chris Couey. I live right here in Helena just down the road. As far as issues, I-185, I voted yes on that because I don't smoke any of those things, so. If you wanna do it, might as well pay for it.
Corin Cates-Carney: What about the Senate race, what about that was important for you and what are your thoughts?
Chris Couey: You know the VA is a big one with them. I'm a veteran myself and so we got to have the right representative.
Corin Cates-Carney: You see one candidate doing a better job than the other as far as veterans issues?
Chris Couey: Well, not yet. So, hopefully with a change we will.
Corin Cates-Carney: Does a change mean a vote for Republican Matt Rosendale?
Chris Couey: Yeah.
Ashley Carlson: Ashley Carlson, I am a college student right now at Carroll College. Well personally, I'm not super-involved in politics, and I think that I just kind of had the basic ideas of just maintaining, especially just like the education systems and health care for people because I work as a CNA. So I think it's important that people are able to maintain their quality of life. Whatever form that is.
I think I-185 was something important in terms of health care, but I think that was just the most important for me today.
David Smigaj: David Smigaj, Helena.
Corin Cates-Carney: Were there specific issues or candidates that you really thought were important to vote for?
David Smigaj: I am just so sick and tired of the two out-of-staters who moved here, and all their money, and I'm tired of Trump and I just wanted it to end.
Corin Cates-Carney: Did you see it more as a vote against Matt Rosendale and Greg Gianforte.
David Smigaj: Yeah.
Corin Cates-Carney: Was it more of a vote against them or is it a vote for the Democrats, Kathleen Williams and Jon Tester?
David Smigaj: It was vote for Tester, but I'm just tired of Gianforte. He's just come here and made his money and now he wants,to make his friends richer. And that's the way I view Trump and everything.
Corin Cates-Carney: What about some of the ballot issues?
David Smigaj: Yeah, I voted no on both of them. I just I'm tired of taxes. You know, and the mining; my father was a miner, my grandfather was a miner. I've lived here all my life. My brother was a miner, and I think it's controlled enough. I really do. And as far as a cigarette tax I'm just just tired of trying to pay for something. Find some other way to do it.
Find live results for Montana's races here starting once the polls close at 8 p.m. And tune in on your radio or online for NPR's special election coverage from Montana and around the country, starting at 6 p.m.