HELENA — Republicans have held a stable greater part in the Montana Legislature for far more than a ten years, and that sample seems most likely to carry on in 2022. That usually means GOP primaries could perform a major purpose in how future year’s legislative session performs out.
Throughout 100 House races and 26 Senate races statewide, 31 feature two or extra Republicans competing in the June main. Nine incumbent Republican lawmakers are facing primary challengers. In the remaining 22 races, numerous Republicans are functioning to exchange a departing incumbent or problem a Democrat.
The contested races are unfold across the state, from Miles Town to Mineral County. 8 of them are in the Flathead by itself.
Just one noteworthy contest is the only a single in the condition exactly where two incumbent Republicans are going through off: Reps. Geraldine Custer and Barry Usher are both of those working to stand for Senate District 20 in Japanese Montana. Just about every of them currently signifies 50 percent of the district, which features all of Musselshell and Treasure Counties and pieces of Rosebud, Yellowstone and Custer Counties. Incumbent Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, is termed-out and could not operate yet again.
Custer lives near Forsyth. She served more than 30 a long time as the clerk and recorder of Rosebud County, right before becoming elected to the state House in 2014, exactly where she’s served 4 conditions. She factors to her family members qualifications in agriculture, her expertise of the concerns going through the district and her neighborhood governing administration knowledge.
Custer suggests Ankney encouraged her to operate for his seat. Each of them have been linked to the “Solutions Caucus,” a group of Republicans recognized to break with party leaders and work with Democrats on selected concerns. In the course of the 2021 session, Custer voted from Republican-sponsored expenses to remove Election Day voter registration, to set up partisan judicial elections and to continue to keep transgender athletes off girls’ sports groups.
“I truly feel like, as a applicant, that you’re sent there to not compromise your have values, and surely to vote for what is very good for your location,” Custer stated. “If you’ve accomplished that, I believe at the close of the working day you can relaxation straightforward, and I experience like that is what I do. Often, sure, it goes versus what the get together does, but I feel like my working experience is why I can stand up.”
Custer states she’s open to some new concepts on election law, but she’s self-confident Montana’s elections are secure. She also claims she trusts judges in the state to act impartially and doesn’t see a want for comprehensive adjustments to judicial elections. Some of the prime priorities she identifies are addressing rising home taxes, housing and labor shortages, little one treatment availability and the economic changeover all around Colstrip.
Usher is a company owner, running dealerships like Beartooth Harley-Davidson and Beartooth Mahindra in the vicinity of Billings, exactly where he sells bikes, tractors and off-highway motor vehicles. He unsuccessfully challenged Ankney in a Senate major in 2014, then was elected to the Residence in 2016 and has held the seat for a few terms.
Usher has been a staunch conservative in the Legislature, and he factors to his voting record when encouraging GOP principal voters to support him. He argued Custer has damaged with the Republican occasion line even additional than the other Solutions Caucus associates.
“I assume it is rather easy and very clear you just have to look up our voting records,” he explained. “We differ on the majority of our votes. I’m plainly a conservative Republican voting Montana values, and my opponent is not.”
Usher states he’s viewed constituents getting rid of religion in the state’s election program, and he favors a lot more limits on voter ID and registration as measures to ensure integrity. He argues the Montana Supreme Court docket and district judges have set by themselves previously mentioned other branches of federal government, and he supported proposals to make judicial elections partisan and elect Supreme Courtroom justices by district alternatively of at-significant.
Usher recognized inflation and assets taxes as the most significant problems for persons in his district. He also says he’s focused on prison justice, together with addressing aspects of a 2017 reform bundle that he thinks have hindered the justice procedure.
In Household District 97, which covers Lolo and rural pieces of Missoula County, two Republicans are functioning to exchange the termed-out Rep. Brad Tschida, a popular conservative who is now operating for state Senate.
Lyn Hellegaard is govt director of Missoula Ravalli Transportation Administration Affiliation and the Montana Transit Affiliation. She also served one particular term on the Missoula Town Council from 2008 to 2011. She says her function has provided her knowledge performing with legislators and staying element of the lawmaking system.
Hellegaard says she’s most anxious about inflation and climbing home taxes. She wishes the point out to concentrate on boosting useful resource advancement as a way to lessen the load on home homeowners.
Hellegaard, together with Tschida, has also been involved with an effort by Missoula County activists that alleged there were being discrepancies in the 2020 election and explained they found various thousand mail ballots couldn’t be matched with envelopes. She suggests there are loopholes in point out election law that really should be transformed to be certain safety.
Missoula County election officials have stated the activists’ declare is inaccurate, and that all 2020 ballots have been appropriately certified.
Michael Burks owns several companies in Montana, Idaho and Washington. He’s also a volunteer pilot and “wing leader” with Angel Flight West, an organization that arranges cost-free flights for people in have to have of wellbeing care or other aid.
MTN reached out to Burks many times, but did not get a response from him. In a statement on his web page saying his candidacy, he recognized assets taxes, the cost of living, crime rates and homelessness as some of the difficulties that will need to be resolved.
In a March publish on his marketing campaign Fb web site, Burks pushed again on statements about election integrity. He reported a 2nd rely of 2020 ballots, carried out with county GOP volunteers seeing, observed considerably less than 100 ballots. He explained the outcomes showed no evidence of corruption, and he urged voters to participate in this year’s election – and have confidence in their ballots will be counted.
Hellegaard says she believes there is space for Republicans to function their disagreements out within the social gathering.
“That’s one particular detail that I like about that entire body, is you can have a differing belief and get people arguments and conversations out, which will help our constituents understand what’s going on,” she said. “I’m for the discussion – and that’s a person issue about the Republicans, we commonly don’t vote the celebration line.”
Below is a complete listing of Montana legislative districts with contested Republican races:
- Residence District 3 (Columbia Falls, West Glacier and jap Flathead County): Incumbent Rep. Braxton Mitchell, Lorena Wooden
- Dwelling District 5 (Whitefish): Lyn Bennett, Brian Owens
- Residence District 7 (Kalispell): Dave Ingram, Courtenay Sprunger
- Dwelling District 8 (Kalispell): Previous Rep. David Dunn, Terry Fa
lk, Lynne Ogden Rider, Mark Twichel
- House District 9 (Kalispell and Evergreen): David August, Tony Brockman, Constance Neumann
- Household District 11 (Somers and Lakeside): Devon Decker, Ronalee Skees, Tanner Smith
- Dwelling District 14 (Mineral County and pieces of Sanders and Missoula Counties): Incumbent Rep. Denley Loge, Randy Mitchell
- Property District 15 (Elements of CSKT and Blackfeet reservations): Ralph Foster, Betsy Johnson
- House District 17 (Teton County and sections of Lewis and Clark and Pondera Counties): Incumbent Rep. Ross Fitzgerald, Justin Cleveland
- Household District 26 (Fantastic Falls): Marci Marceau, George Nikolakakos
- Dwelling District 30 (Central Montana): James Bergstrom, Randyn Gregg
- Dwelling District 38 (Miles Metropolis): Wyatt Winchester English, Greg Kmetz, Mike Willems
- Household District 40 (Musselshell County and northern Yellowstone County): Bob Goffena, Bruce Hoiland, John Nickelson, Greg Oblander
- Home District 55 (Laurel): Lee Deming, Curtis Schomer
- Dwelling District 65 (Bozeman): James Cocco, Ryan Eisele
- Home District 68 (Belgrade): Incumbent Rep. Caleb Hinkle, former Rep. Bruce Grubbs
- Home District 75 (Jefferson County): Incumbent Rep. Marta Bertoglio, Tim McKenrick
- House District 78 (Anaconda and Deer Lodge): Incumbent Rep. Gregory Frazer, Steven Grant
- Household District 81 (Helena): Charlie Hull, Jill Sark
- Property District 84 (Helena and East Helena): Kurt Aughney, Keith Pigman, Kaitlyn Ruch
- House District 86 (Hamilton): Incumbent Rep. David Bedey, Jeffrey Jones
- Dwelling District 88 (Northern Ravalli County): Alan Lackey, Wayne Rusk
- Home District 97 (Lolo and other outlying parts of Missoula County): Michael Burks, Lyn Hellegaard
- Senate District 4 (Kalispell): Rep. John Fuller, Lee Huestis
- Senate District 5 (Flathead County): Rep. Mark Noland, Rob Tracy
- Senate District 12 (Wonderful Falls): Rep. Wendy McKamey, Desma Meissner
- Senate District 14 (North-central Montana): Incumbent Sen. Russ Tempel, Steven Chvilicek
- Senate District 20 (Jap Montana): Rep. Geraldine Custer, Rep. Barry Usher
- Senate District 34 (Belgrade): Bryan Donald Haysom, Shelley Vance
- Senate District 43 (Southern Ravalli County): Incumbent Sen. Jason Ellsworth, Joede Vanek
- Senate District 49 (Missoula County): Nancy Burgoyne, Rep. Brad Tschida