In an increasingly heated-up race, some local candidates for the state Legislature have invited Gov. Brian Schweitzer to a fundraiser set for tonight.
Democrat Bob Bergren, the outgoing speaker of the House of Representatives and candidate for Senate District 17, said that since the governor was going to be in Havre today, the Hill County Democrats decided to invite him to the fundraiser.
“He actually is here on official business,” Bergren, who faces Havre Republican Rowlie Hutton in the senate race, said this morning.
A Schweitzer spokesperson said this morning the governor was meeting with representatives of the Chippewa Cree Tribal government this afternoon, then touring a Havre tourist attraction later in the afternoon.
The race is heating up in the area, with the state Democratic and Republican parties both turning some of their focus here.
During meetings in the past few weeks, the Republican Central Committee has discussed — and looked for volunteers to work — a local campaign office which also will house a state-level staff member working on local campaigns.
The Republican committee also discussed the state Democrats taking the same kind of approach on the local level.
Bergren said the state Democrats are focusing here, although he added he doesn’t know that it is more focused than in any other region — the Democrats are making a statewide push.
“They're obviously interested (here,)” he said. “I think the two house races and senate race are key to what happens in the rest of the state.”
Bergren said one focus of tonight’s fundraiser is trying to help defeat an incumbent Republican in the region.
Democratic candidate Dana Sapp Seidel faces Rep. Wendy Warburton in the race for House District 34.
Warburton won the seat, held by a Democrat for decades, in the 2008 election.
Bergen said Jack Trethewey, the Democratic candidate for House District 33 who faces Republican Kris Hansen in the general election, will also be at the fundraiser.
Bergren said the event, starting at 6 p.m. at the house of his parents, Jerry and Penny Bergren, at 600 23rd Ave W. on Old Post Road, has a suggested contribution amount but anyone is welcome to attend.