MTPR

Jeff Essmann

From left to right, Rep. Greg Gianforte, Sen. Al Olszewski and Attorney General Tim Fox.
Photo credit L- R, Eric Whitney, Corin Cates-Carney and Montana DOJ

Montana now has three Republicans campaigning for governor, with one candidate dropping out of the race to run for the U.S. House. Party leaders met in Helena this weekend. Veteran journalists Chuck Johnson and Ed Kemmick offer their analysis with Montana Free Press Editor John Adams.

The Montana Supreme Court has selected Sheila Stearns to lead Montana Redistricting Commission.
Courtesy the University of Montana

The Montana Supreme Court Tuesday named former state Commissioner of Higher Education Sheila Stearns to lead the committee in charge of re-drawing the boundaries of Montana’s legislative districts.

Stearns was picked by the state high court after the two Democrats and two Republicans on the Montana 2020 Redistricting Commission deadlocked on who should be their fifth and final member.

The two Democrats and two Republicans in charge of redrawing Montana’s political map failed Monday to agree on the fifth and final member of their group. The state Supreme Court will now step in to pick the tie-breaking member of Montana’s 2020 redistricting commission.

Current Montana Legislative Districts
Montana Secretary of State's Office

Four people sat around a table in Helena Friday to start debating how to draw lines of political power on the Montana map.

And they decided to ask for the public’s help in picking a fifth member who could cast tie-breaking votes over the lines that will shape election districts for the next 10 years. Districts for both state legislative races, and, depending on the outcome of the 2020 Census, how Montanans will elect a second Representative to the U.S. House.

The fact Montana lawmakers were going into this week's special legislative session with no pre-negotiated "deal" in place gave many at the Capitol heartburn. The session wrapped up shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday morning. Governor Steve Bullock called legislators back to the Capitol to help address a projected $227 million dollar budget shortfall and backfill the state's depleted wildfire fighting fund. 

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