GOP delegates pick Gianforte as House candidate

AP

Print Article

  • Seven Republican hopefuls for the party nomination for the U.S. House pose before a GOP meeting to pick a candidate in Helena, Mont., Monday, March 6, 2017. From left to right, are: is Greg Gianforte, Samuel Redfern, Dean Rehbein (seated), Carl Glimm, Ed Buttrey, Ken Miller and Ed Walker. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)

  • 1

    Musician and political novice Rob Quist smiles after wining the Montana Democratic Party’s nomination for the May 25 special election, in Helena, Mont., Sunday, March 5, 2017. Quist on Sunday captured the Democratic nomination for the May 25 special election to fill the state’s only congressional seat. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

  • Seven Republican hopefuls for the party nomination for the U.S. House pose before a GOP meeting to pick a candidate in Helena, Mont., Monday, March 6, 2017. From left to right, are: is Greg Gianforte, Samuel Redfern, Dean Rehbein (seated), Carl Glimm, Ed Buttrey, Ken Miller and Ed Walker. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)

  • 1

    Musician and political novice Rob Quist smiles after wining the Montana Democratic Party’s nomination for the May 25 special election, in Helena, Mont., Sunday, March 5, 2017. Quist on Sunday captured the Democratic nomination for the May 25 special election to fill the state’s only congressional seat. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

HELENA — Technology entrepreneur Greg Gianforte and musician Rob Quist will square off in a special election to fill the Montana U.S. House seat left vacant by Ryan Zinke’s departure to become President Donald Trump’s interior secretary.

Republicans selected Gianforte over six others Monday night in a special nominating meeting for the May 25 election. Gianforte, a conservative who has never held political office, will be facing another political newcomer in Quist.

On Sunday, the Democrats nominated the 69-year-old who is best known as a singer and guitarist for the Mission Mountain Wood Band.

Gianforte won the majority of the 203 Republican delegates from across the state in a single round of voting after he pledged to back the Trump administration’s policies on issues from increased border protection to repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Gianforte said he was honored and ready to go to work.

“This election will be a referendum on Donald Trump and this administration,” Gianforte said. “We’re going to have national attention, and we need every single person in this room to do everything you can to make sure we win.”

Gianforte, 55, sold his software company RightNow Technologies to Oracle for $1.8 billion in 2011. He is now attempting to rebound from his defeat last November in an expensive governor’s race against incumbent Democrat Steve Bullock.

Even before securing the GOP nomination, Gianforte went on the attack against Quist. Gianforte used a candidate forum earlier Monday to paint Quist as an “out-of-touch liberal” in a state that voted strongly for Trump in November.

Other Republicans also quickly responded to Quist’s ascension. A super PAC called the Congressional Leadership Fund announced it will spend $700,000 on an ad campaign to influence Montana’s May 25 special election. The first spot aired Monday, attacking Quist with the same out-of-touch message as Gianforte’s.

Quist was not available for comment, spokeswoman Tina Olechowski said. The attacks make it clear “the D.C. establishment and Greg Gianforte are running scared of Rob Quist,” she said in a statement.

The state’s Libertarian Party will also nominate a candidate for the special election when its members meet next weekend. All other parties and potential independent candidates were required to submit petitions with at least 14,268 signatures by the close of business Monday.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Morgan Williams said nobody turned in a petition by the deadline, meaning no other candidates will be on the ballot.

Gianforte claimed to have locked up the election well before Monday’s vote while meeting with delegates on a statewide tour since Trump nominated Zinke in December. State Sen. Ed Buttrey, a moderate Republican hopeful, had tried to undermine Gianforte’s support by painting Gianforte as too conservative to appeal to all Montana voters.

Buttrey also said he would not use the U.S. House seat as a stepping-stone for a higher position. Zinke and U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, the last two holders of the seat, both left after one term.

Gianforte said in an earlier interview with The Associated Press that he would seek at least two terms if he wins the special election this year.

That two-term commitment leaves open the possibility of Gianforte running for governor again in 2020, said David Parker, a political scientist for Montana State University.

“If he were to leap to a different seat, it would be the governor’s seat in 2020, which is open,” Parker said. “It’s sensible for Gianforte to run for the House, run for the House again and then governor after that.”

Print Article

Read More Local News

Board favors big subdivision, but with conditions

September 12, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The Columbia Falls City-County Planning Board on Tuesday voted to recommend approval of a new major subdivision east of the Flathead River just outside Columbia Falls, though it added several condi...

Comments

Read More

Family shares story of loss to inspire conversations about suicide

September 12, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Perfectionist. Jokester. Athletic, with lots of friends. These are the words Vicki and Orlin Gravelle use to describe their son. Dustin Leon Gravelle was a junior at Flathead High School where he...

Comments

Read More

Food-conditioned grizzly euthanized in Seeley-Swan Valley

September 11, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Daily Inter Lake An adult female grizzly bear captured in the Seeley-Swan Valley was euthanized on Tuesday after wildlife officials determined the animal had become food-conditioned, according to a press release from...

Comments

Read More

Kalispell woman pleads guilty to drug distribution

September 11, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Daily Inter Lake MISSOULA (AP) — A 66-year-old Kalispell woman who initially was charged with murder-for-hire has pleaded guilty to a federal drug distribution charge that carries a longer potential prison sentence. ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2019 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X