Following Montana’s June 2 primary 15 Native American candidates will continue onto the general election. That includes a candidate for the statewide position of state auditor.
On June 2, Shane Morigeau, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, won the Democratic nomination for state auditor. If he wins the general election, he will be the first Native American to hold a statewide office since Denise Juneau served as superintendent of public instruction in 2017.
Mark Trahant from Indian Country Today points out that Montana is one of the few states whose public officials consistently have racial parity.
"You have to put it in context, and that’s that Montana leads the nation. It really has been a remarkable story about how well Native Americans have participated in public elections. And it’s been a case of every year building on the previous year and learning from it and taking more opportunities," Trahant said.
Last year, 7.3 percent of the Montana Legislature was Native American. A 2018 census estimate says American Indians made up 6.7 percent of Montana’s population.
There are currently 12 members of the 2019 Montana American Indian Caucus.