Olszewski picks running mate in race for governor

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Sen. Al Olszewski, R-Kalispell, and Sen. Kenneth Bogner, R-Miles City.

Montana GOP gubernatorial candidate Al Olszewski, a state senator from Kalispell, announced Thursday his running mate will be state Sen. Kenneth Bogner, R-Miles City.

Bogner, 32, was elected to his first term as senator last year. He previously worked as a chief of staff to the senate majority leader Fred Thomas, R-Hamilton, during the 2017 legislative session and as an Eastern Montana field representative for U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.

Prior to entering politics, Bogner was a combat engineer in the Marines and served two tours in the Middle East. He earned his M.A. in Public Policy from Middlesex University.

“This was never going to be a quick decision, but as my search continued, I kept going back to the same candidate,” Olszewski said in a campaign press release.

“During this last session, he impressed me with his commitment to conservative values. I noticed he was always his own man; he was not afraid to be the lone vote on legislation – even if it was going against the establishment players – and that independence and integrity, to me, is invaluable in being a true leader.”

“This is a great honor,” Bogner said. “I look forward to serving in the Olszewski administration where I can be a strong voice for rural Montana, and our next generation of leaders.”

A Sept. 4 poll conducted by Florida-based Gravis Marketing showed Olszewski in third place among Republican candidates at 15%, behind current U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte at 56% and Attorney General Tim Fox at 29%.

Olszewski was elected to the Montana House in 2014 and in 2016 became a state senator representing Senate District 6. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2018 but finished in fourth place in the Republican primary.

Olszewski has worked as an orthopedic surgeon in Kalispell since 1998.

The primary election for governor takes place on June 2, 2020.

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