2016 Montana gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte (R) predicted that he would win the special congressional nomination on the first convention ballot, and that he did last night. Mr. Gianforte attracted 123 votes from the 203 participating Republican Party state committee voting members. The state’s one congressional seat is vacant because incumbent Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Whitefish) has now been confirmed as US Interior Secretary.
Mr. Gianforte, who lost to incumbent Steve Bullock (D) by only a 50-46% count in November, defeated five other Republican candidates. He becomes the early favorite over musician Rob Quist (D) in the special general election on May 25th.
Before the vote, several convention delegates raised the point of seniority during their time to question the six candidates. The last two Republican at-large House members, now-US Senator Steve Daines and Secretary Zinke, departed after serving only one term, apiece. In response, Mr. Gianforte pledged to seek re-election in 2018, assuming he is successful in the special election. Such a move seemingly takes him out of consideration as an opponent for Sen. Jon Tester (D), who will again face the voters next year.
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