Kila Rep. Carl Glimm has announced that he will seek the Republican Party’s nomination to fill an expected vacancy of Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A home builder currently serving in his third Montana House term, Glimm said Tuesday that his record of fiscal responsibility offers a “unique opportunity” for the state GOP to put forth a conservative candidate to replace Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., who has been tapped by President Donald Trump to serve as the next Secretary of the Interior.
“It still comes back to my kids,” Glimm said in an interview. “It’s the reason I got into politics to begin with, at the state level. I’m worried about what I’m leaving to them. The irresponsible spending of our federal government is not doing us any favors, and we really need to get it turned around.”
Glimm is currently the Chairman of the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation, a post he also occupied in the 2015 Legislature.
With many of his initiatives focusing on water rights issues and natural resource management, he added that he would be well positioned to assume Zinke’s seat on the House Committee on Natural Resources if elected.
He supports Congressional Republicans’ stated intention of passing changes to the Endangered Species Act, and said he also favors proposals to transfer some federal public lands to state ownership.
“You look at state lands versus federal forest lands, we’re doing a better job of managing those lands, so I think we need to look at that,” Glimm said. “It’s not something that’s going to get dropped on us all at once. It would be a slow transition, but we should be exploring that option. We should be looking at it, investigating it and looking at, can we do a better job?”
In announcing his bid to keep a Flathead politician in the U.S. House of Representatives, Glimm pointed to his consistent voting record on social issues, including his pro-gun and pro-family policy stances.
“For the last two sessions that I’ve been down here [in Helena], I’ve received top rankings in the House for voting on Republican principals,” Glimm said. “I see that as being a good qualifier, that people know how I’m going to vote, because the history is there.”
Glimm also said he would work to implement Montana’s constitutionally mandated, balanced budget at the federal level, while focusing on zero-based budgeting, or one-time appropriations, to trim federal bureaucracy.
“That’s really the essence of going in there with a scalpel and looking at the waste, fraud and abuse,” he said, adding that it’s an approach he’s taken in his appropriations subcommittee. “You can find things they aren’t doing efficiently or maybe shouldn’t be doing, and that’s where you find those efficiencies and start saving some money.”
Glimm joins a growing number of Republican state lawmakers who have expressed interest in Zinke’s seat, including Senate President Scott Sales, Great Falls Sen. Ed Buttrey and Billings Rep. Daniel Zolnikov.
Bozeman Republican Greg Gianforte has been mentioned as a possible candidate after he was narrowly defeated in his bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock last year, but has not yet indicated whether he will run.
Glimm acknowledged that he lacks the statewide name recognition of some other candidates, but vowed to work hard during the tight campaign window if he receives the nomination.
“I realize that is an issue for me,” he said. “But I’m willing to put in the time and work to do it, to get around the state, hear people and listen, and just get out there. That’s what it’s going to take.”
Zinke’s confirmation hearing was held last week. An expected confirmation vote Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources was postponed, according to the committee’s website. If the congressional panel approves his nomination, he will face a full Senate vote before taking the helm of the Department of the Interior.
Once the seat becomes vacant, state law requires Bullock to set a date for the special election within 85 to 100 days.
Montana’s Democratic, Libertarian and Republican parties must each furnish a nominee for the House seat within 75 days of the election day. Glimm said he expects the special Republican nominating convention could take place as soon as early February.
Reporter Sam Wilson can be reached at 758-4407 or by email at email@example.com.