Zinke Among Montana Contenders for 2 House Seats in Primary

Zinke Among Montana Contenders for 2 House Seats in Primary Zinke Among Montana Contenders for 2 House Seats in Primary Zinke (Getty)

Tuesday, 07 June 2022 02:56 PM

Montana voters are casting ballots Tuesday in the first primary election in three decades with two seats in the U.S. House at stake.

Ryan Zinke, who served as a Cabinet member under then-President Donald Trump, is running for the seat to represent the western part of the state after Montana was granted a second seat due to population growth documented in the 2020 census.

It's technically an open seat, but the former Navy SEAL is widely considered the de facto incumbent since he twice won elections for the state’s then-only U.S. House seat before stepping down in 2017 to join the Trump administration as Interior secretary.

Zinke’s opponents are drawing attention to his troubled tenure at the agency, which was marked by multiple ethics investigations. On the GOP side, the field includes former state Sen. Al “Doc” Olszewski, who has tried to paint Zinke as a “liberal insider."

Meanwhile, three Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination: public health advocate Cora Neumann, Olympic rower and attorney Monica Tranel and former state Rep. Tom Winter.

In the state’s other district, first-term U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale, who has Trump’s endorsement, will look to fend off three Republican primary challengers. On the Democratic side, the contenders include Billings councilmember Penny Ronning and a candidate who unexpectedly died after the ballots were printed, state Sen. Mark Sweeney.

If voters choose Sweeney, the Democratic Party will hold a nominating convention to select a replacement.

In one Supreme Court race, Montana voters will advance two of three candidates to the general election. Incumbent Ingrid Gustafson faces challenges from James Brown, an attorney and member of the Public Service Commission, and District Court Judge Mike McMahon of Helena.

In the other Supreme Court race on the ballot this year, incumbent Jim Rice and his challenger, Billings attorney Bill D'Alton, will both advance to the general election.

The polls close at 8 p.m.

Original Article