U.S. Rep. Gianforte files for re-election; field appears complete for MT congressional seat

Posted at 4:54 PM, Mar 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-01 18:54:10-05

U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., paid his candidate filing fee Thursday to run for re-election, likely completing the filed of competitors for Montana’s only congressional seat.

Gianforte won the seat last May 25, in a special election to succeed Ryan Zinke, who resigned after becoming U.S. Interior secretary.

In a statement Thursday, Gianforte said he’s running to “serve the state I love and ensure that Montana’s voice is always heard.”

Gianforte appears to be the only Republican in the race, but five Democrats and a Libertarian are trying to unseat him this year.

The Democratic candidates who’ve filed so far are Billings attorney John Heenan, former land-trust director Grant Kier of Missoula, former state Rep. Kathleen Williams of Bozeman, former state Sen. Lynda Moss of Billings, and Bozeman attorney Jared Pettinato.

Voters in the June 5 Democratic primary election will choose the party’s nominee. A Democrat hasn’t won Montana’s congressional seat since 1994.

Libertarian Elinor Swanson, also an attorney from Billings, filed this week to run for the seat.

Gianforte is co-founder of RightNow Technologies, a Bozeman-based software development firm that was sold to Oracle Corporation in 2012 for $1.8 billion.

Gianforte’s first foray into politics was in 2016, when he lost the gubernatorial race to Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.

Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist for the U.S. House seat last year, by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin. Libertarian Mark Wicks had 6 percent.