Rosendale wins re-election in Montana US House race

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana Republican Matt Rosendale won a second term in the U.S. House on Tuesday as he fended off two challengers in the race for a new district representing the eastern part of the state.

The race for the other newly drawn US House district where President Donald Trump’s former Interior Secretary, Republican Ryan Zinke, was vying for the seat was too early to call Tuesday night.

Rosendale and Zinke are trying to extend recent GOP dominance in the state. Republicans haven’t lost a U.S. House race in Montana since 1994. Over the past decade, voters have swept Democrats from nearly every elected office statewide, with the exception of US Senator Jon Tester, who is up for re-election in 2024.

After the Eastern District was called for Rosendale shortly after midnight, he said the results reflected voter concern about high energy costs, a faltering economy and rising crime that lawmakers blamed on the lax border security.

To address those concerns, Rosendale said Republicans need to focus on increasing the national energy supply and securing the southern border to reduce the flow of dangerous drugs.

“If we focus on these two issues, we will have a tremendous impact on improving the lives of people in the state of Montana and across the country,” he said.

“It’s a good night for Montana and a good night for America,” he added.

Rosendale emerged during his first term as a far-right conservative. He backed Trump’s misrepresentations about the 2020 election and recently voted against US support for Ukraine in its war against Russia, citing what he said were more pressing security needs along the southern border.

His opponents — Democrat Penny Ronning and Independent Gary Buchanan — have called Rosendale too extreme for Montana and beholden to outside interests that have heavily supported his political career.

Rosendale stressed the importance of dissent in Washington and blamed Democrats in control of Congress and the White House for blocking reforms that could boost the agriculture and energy industry.

Rosendale through Oct. 19 has raised more than $2.1 million for the election, about three times as much as Buchanan and Ronning combined, according to Federal Election Commission documents.

Also on the ballot were two Montana Supreme Court races, one of which became abnormally politicized, And one referendum on abortion. It was too early to announce the two races on Tuesday.

Results were delayed in some counties as election officials waited to release the results until everyone in line as polls closed could cast their ballots. In Missoula County, election officials inadvertently included the results of an equipment test from Monday in their initial results, causing a lengthy delay while they adjusted the voting report to remove erroneous information.

Zinke gathered with fans at a bar in his hometown of Whitefish to watch the results while his opponent, Monica Tranel, was at the Union Club in Missoula.

Zinke won two statewide elections to the US House before joining Trump’s cabinet, where he eased restrictions on oil and gas drilling before resigning amid numerous ethical investigations.

The former US Navy SEAL, who barely survived the June primaryon a far-right opponent, is vying for the seat representing western Montana. It is contested by Democratic lawyer Monica Tranel and Libertarian John Lamb.

Zinke tried to portray himself as a moderate, saying he doesn’t support an all-out abortion ban, but replicated GOP attacks on the Biden administration, including on gun rights and child safety. borders.

Zinke has denied wrongdoing as Secretary of the Interior and dismissed as vindictive investigators’ reports that he lied during an investigation into a proposed Native American casino and his involvement in a real estate project in his city. native.

Tranel is a consumer rights and environmental attorney from Missoula who unsuccessfully ran for the Public Service Commission in 2020. She campaigned on promises to promote the development of renewable energy, expand affordable housing and ending tax breaks for businesses and the wealthy.

Lamb is an anti-government hardliner who thinks the penalties imposed on many of the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters were too harsh.

In Montana’s Supreme Court election, incumbent Ingrid Gustafson was challenged by James Brown, a Republican-elect attorney on the state’s Civil Service Commission. Incumbent Jim Rice is challenged by Billings attorney Bill D’Alton.

Elections for judges are supposed to be non-partisan. However, the race between Gustafson and Brown has drawn huge sums of money as Republicans back Brown and try to push the court in a more conservative direction, while Democrats hope to maintain their liberal majority to prevent the erosion of the abortion rights in Montana.

Abortion referendum raises prospect of criminal charges against healthcare providers unless they take ‘all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life’ of a child born alive, including after an attempted abortion.

Opponents argue the proposal could rob parents of valuable time with infants born with incurable medical conditions if doctors are forced to attempt treatment. Proponents say this is aimed at preventing the killing of infants outside the womb after failed abortions, which is already illegal.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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