Montana Public Radio

Montana GOP Convention: Party, Candidates Hungry For Governor's Office After 16 Years

Jun 17, 2019

Montana Republicans held their state party convention over the weekend in Helena.

Most of the attention was on the race to win the GOP nomination for governor, which Montana’s Congressman Greg Gianforte is seeking.

"One of the news items this weekend was Corey Stapleton, who had been an announced candidate for governor, announced he’s running instead for the House seat being vacated by Gianforte," said veteran Montana Journalist Chuck Johnson, who covered the convention for the Montana Free Press website.

Stapleton, who is currently Montana’s Secretary of State, leaves two other Republican gubernatorial candidates, State legislator Al Olszewski, and Attorney General Tim Fox, who is term limited in his current office.

Ed Kemmick, also working for the Free Press, said that party members are energized after Democratics have held the governor's office for four consecutive terms, and vetoed many bills passed by the Republican-majority state legislature.

"It’ll have been 16 years by the time the next governor is sworn in," Kemmick said, "and I think we heard the term ‘16 years’ about 25 times this weekend. That was just constantly on everybody’s lips, forefront of everyone’s minds."

Kemmick and Johnson said they both heard from party members concerned about Gianforte and Stapleton giving up incumbency to pursue new offices.