Fmr Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Wins Montana US House Seat (Newsmax)
MATTHEW BROWN Thursday, 10 November 2022 11:37 AM EST
Republican Ryan Zinke prevailed over his Democrat challenger in the race for a newly drawn Montana U.S. House district, overcoming early stumbles including a razor-thin victory in the primary.
Zinke served previously in the House from 2015 to 2017 before leaving to join former President Donald Trump's Cabinet as Interior secretary. He resigned after less than two years at the agency amid numerous ethics investigations, including two in which federal officials concluded Zinke lied.
Democrat challenger Monica Tranel, an environmental and consumer rights attorney from Missoula, tried to capitalize on the scandals by characterizing him as a "snake" who quit Trump's Cabinet.
Newsmax called the race Wednesday night at 10:46 p.m. ET and the latest numbers have Zinkie up more than 3 percentage points (more than 8,000 votes).
"Montana saw through the lies," Zinke said Thursday morning, adding voters responded to his calls to curb energy costs, restrict abortions but with exceptions, and address housing shortages.
Zinke said Republicans now "have to deliver on promises made."
"One key promise is we have to assert the power of the purse," he said. "We've got to show we can control the budget. Right now the budget is out of control."
Republicans have not lost a U.S. House race in Montana since 1994. Incumbent Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., also won in this midterm election. Over the past decade, voters have vanquished every Democrat holding statewide office except Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who is up for reelection in 2024.
Zinke raised and spent about $6 million during the campaign — more than twice as much as Tranel, according to campaign filings through Oct. 19.
Zinke had won two statewide elections to the U.S. House before joining Trump's cabinet, where he eased restrictions on oil and gas drilling before resigning amid numerous ethics investigations.
During his campaign this year, the former U.S. Navy SEAL tried to portray himself as moderate by saying he does not support a no-exceptions ban on abortion. But, he also parroted GOP attacks on the Biden administration over inflation and border security.
Tranel is a consumer rights and environmental attorney from Missoula who ran unsuccessfully for Public Service Commission in 2020. She has campaigned on pledges to promote renewable energy development, expand affordable housing and end tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.