Ryan Zinke Will Be Trump's Nominee For Interior Secretary, News Reports Say

Dec 13, 2016

Media outlets, including the Washington Post, are reporting that Montana’s Congressman Ryan Zinke is president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Interior.

The Post and other outlets are citing anonymous sources, and Congressman Zinke’s office has not issued any statements at this time.

Zinke met with president-elect Trump in New York yesterday.

Zinke spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention, but resigned as a party delegate because he disagrees with the portion of the party platform that calls for some federal public lands to be transferred to the states.

Here’s what Zinke  said about that while campaigning earlier this year:

"Public lands should not be sold or transferred. But certainly we need to look at better ways at managing our public lands, in the best interest of all of us."

In November Zinke won his second term as Montana’s congressman. He was an early Trump supporter, but has split with the Republican party over the sale of public lands - the Republican party supports that idea, but Zinke says he’s against it.

Jeff Essman is the Chairman of the Montana Republican party:

"Montana’s loss would be the nation’s gain if Congressman Zinke is called forward to serve in that capacity," says Essmann.

If Zinke accepts the post and is confirmed by Congress, Governor Steve Bullock would be allowed to appoint a temporary successor, and then state law requires him to set a special election 85 to 100 days after the House set becomes vacant.

Essmann says he’s confident that Republicans will retain the seat. He does not know how Montana Democrats will respond if this rumor is true, but adds:

"It’s pretty clear that Denise Juneau is looking for work."

Zinke has generally been considered a strong, potential challenger for Senator Jon Tester’s seat in 2018. Today Senator Tester’s office said he "congratulates the Congressman on this high honor. He looks forward to hearing from him on this important nomination."