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Ballard drops out of Democratic U.S. House primary in Montana's eastern district

Ballard-Jack 2022.jpg
Posted at 4:39 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 18:39:50-05

HELENA — The first Democratic candidate to announce he was running for Montana’s eastern district congressional seat says he’s now ending his campaign.

Jack Ballard, an outdoor writer from Red Lodge, released a statement Thursday.

“Today I’m ending my campaign for Montana’s Second Congressional District,” he said. “To be bluntly honest, we’ve failed to raise the financial resources necessary to realistically keep paying campaign staff and fund travel, advertising, materials and other basic expenses through the primary.”

Ballard told MTN his experiences during the campaign showed him the extensive fundraising and time commitments required for a congressional race have become a significant barrier – especially for working people.

“We need to really reduce the impact of money,” he said.

According to federal campaign filings, Ballard raised just over $71,000 in 2021. He was challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale, who has raised more than $1 million.

This is the first time in 30 years that Montana will have two representatives in the U.S. House. The second congressional district covers much of central and eastern Montana, including the cities of Billings, Great Falls and Helena.

Three Democratic candidates are still in the race: Billings City Councilwoman Penny Ronning, state Sen. Mark Sweeney of Philipsburg and Billings resident Skylar Williams. All are expected to have an uphill battle against Rosendale, as the district is likely to lean strongly Republican.

Two additional Republican candidates have also filed in the eastern district: Kyle Austin of Billings and James Boyette of Bozeman.