More candidates piling up on Secretary of State list
Deadline to file is March 9, Montana primaries are June 2
February 24, 2020
Editor’s note: This version corrects the deadline date for filing as a candidate and adds that Matt Rosendale has filed as a candidate in the U.S. House race.
With the deadline to file as a candidate creeping up in Montana, more names have been added to the list of official candidates, with one declared Republican candidate filing for the U.S. House race.
Republican state Auditor Matt Rosendale filed today as a candidate in that race, but a prominent declared candidates is still absent from the list to take the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., who is running for Montana governor.
Secretary of State Corey Stapleton also said he is running for the House seat instead of running for re-electionas secretary of state, but had not filed as a candidate as of this morning, as Gianforte had not yet filed for governor.
Some other Republicans had filed in the U.S. House race, Joe Dooling of Helena, John Evankovich of Butte and Debra Lamm of Livingston.
And Democrat Kathleen Williams, who lost the 2018 election for the House to Gianforte, is again running for the seat.
The deadline to file as a candidate in Montana is Monday, March 9. Filing opened Jan. 9.
The first candidate to file in Montana in the presidential race was the incumbent, Republican President Donald Trump, who filed Feb. 3.
Since then, he has been joined on the Republican ticket in Montana by Bob Ely of Illinois, who challenged President Barack Obama in the Democratic primary in 2012, and Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente of California who made failed bids for the U.S. Senate as a Republican in 2018 and, after losing the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, ran for president that year as a Reform Party candidate.
And several Democrats vying for their party’s nomination now are official Montana candidates. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont are on the list, as is former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
A pile of candidates have filed in the race for the seat held by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., although he has not yet filed for re-election.
Ace Hardware manager Dan Larson of Stevensville has filed to challenge Daines in the primary, and John Mues of Loma and Cora Nueman of Bozeman have filed as Democrats in that race.
No Democrats have yet filed in the race for governor, although a Libertarian has filed.
Lyman Bishop of Kalispell joined the two Republicans on the ticket, Attorney General Tim Fox, who cannot run for that seat due to term limits, and state Sen. Al Olszewski, R-Kalispell.
The Montana secretary of state race now has a three-way Republican primary, with Christi Jacobsen of Helena, Forrest Mandeville of Columbus and Senate President Scott Sales of Bozeman, all filed to try to take the place of Stapleton.
State Sen. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula, is the sole Democrat in that race as of this morning.
The attorney general race has a contested Democratic primary but only one Republican as of this morning.
State Rep. Kimberly Dudik D-Missoula, Democrat Ralph Graybill, chief counsel to the governor, and former Montana Speaker of the House and Roosevelt County Attorney Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, were in that race this morning.
In the race for state auditor, Rep. Shane Morigeau of Missoula was the sole Democrat this morning, while Republican businesspeople Troy Downing of Bozeman and Nelly Nicol of Helena were facing off in their primary.
And the race for superintendent of public instruction is seeing a rematch of the 2016 election. Incumbent Republican Elsie Arntzen of Billings is again facing Melissa Romano in that race.
And a primary has arisen in the Senate district that runs from Hill and Chouteau counties almost to the North Dakota border and includes parts of Rocky Boy’s, Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Indian reservations.
Bridget Smith of Wolf Point, who cannot run for re-election to her House seat due to term limits, now faces Fort Peck tribal council member Justin Dupree of Poplar in that primary.
No Republican had filed by this morning in that race, nor the race for the seat in House District 31, where Sen. Frank Smith, the Democrat now in the seat for which Dupree and Bridget Smith are candidates, is the sole candidate.
Sen. Mike Lang, R-Malta, is unopposed in his bid for re-election.
And no new candidates have filed in the other races impacting this area, with only one contested.
In House District 28, now held by Rep. Jacob Bachmeier, D-Havre, who is not running for re-election, Republican Havre school board member Ed Hill and Democrat Krystal Steinmetz, who works for Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line, have both filed as candidates.
Rep. Josh Kassmeir, R-Fort Benton, and Rep. Casey Knudsen, R-Malta, did not have challengers this morning in their bids for re-election.
And no new candidates have filed in local county-level races, with most races having at least one candidate and primaries set in others, although no general election contests were set this morning.
In Blaine County, a Democratic primary is set for clerk of district court, with incumbent Tami Mitchell facing Jim Doyle.
Incumbent Blaine County Commissioner Dolores Plumage has filed for re-election as a Democrat with no opponent as of this morning.
A three-way Republican primary is set in Chouteau County. Incumbent Chouteau County Commissioner Daren Schuster faces fellow Big Sandy Republicans Rick Darllington and Beau Pegar in his bid for re-election.
Republican Clerk of District Court/Superintendent of Schools/County Surveyor Rick Cook is unopposed so far in his bid for re-election, while Democrat Jodie Butler was the sole candidate this morning for Chouteau County public administrator, now held by Democrat Karen Brooke.
In Hill County, Mark Wicks, who has run as a Liberarian in 2017, for the U.S. House and as a Republican for the Public Service Commission, was the sole candidate, running as a Republican, as of this morning, for the Hill County Commission seat now held by Democrat Mike Wendland.
Hill County Clerk of District Court Kathie Vigliotti had filed for re-election as a Democrat, and Maggie Big Leggings had filed as a Democrat to retain her appointed position as public administrator.
No one had filed as of this morning for Hill County superintendent of schools, to which Marie Deegan was appointed last year.
In Liberty County, incumbent Democrats Liberty County Commissioner Maureen Wicks and Clerk of District Court Anne Seidlitz-Melton both have filed for re-election, without opposition so far.