Matt Rosendale, who currently serves as Montana's sole member of the U.S. House of Representatives, cruised to victory over fellow candidates in Tuesday's GOP primary election for the state's newly-created second seat.
The state gained the second House seat following the 2020 federal census, after 30 years as a single statewide district. The new eastern congressional district includes the cities of Billings, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena, and Miles City.
His three opponents were Kyle Austin, James Boyette, and Charles Walking Child.
The Associated Press called the race for Rosendale at 8:42 p.m.; at the time, he was leading the candidates with 72% of the vote, compared to 14% for Austin, 8% for Boyette, and 5% for Walkingchild.
Rosendale told MTN: "It's a true honor and a privilege not just to get elected but then to go through, serve for two years, have people look at how you’re performing and then step up and say, 'Yeah, we appreciate what you’re doing and we want to see you go back again.' That really is a humbling experience. I just say thank you very much and they can absolutely go to bed knowing that I am going to continue to represent them the same way that I have. I still represent the entire state through the end of this year and I will not take that duty lightly."
Rosendale will now advance to the general election in November 2022, squaring off against the winner of today's Democratic primary and Libertarian primary.
Just before 9 p.m., Penny Ronning was leading the Democratic contenders with 67% of the vote, compared to 16% each for Mark Sweeney and Skylar Williams. Sweeney died suddenly on May 7 of natural causes; at that time, it was too late to remove his name from the ballot.
The three Libertarian candidates are Sam Rankin, Roger Roots, and Samuel Thomas. As of 9 p.m., Rankin led with 41% of the vote, followed by Thomas with 27% and Roots with 24%.
In Montana's 1st congressional district - which covers the western third of the state, including Kalispell, Missoula, Bozeman, and Butte - GOP contenders Ryan Zinke and Al Olszewski are vying to come out on top. As of 9 p.m., Zinke has about 42% of the vote, and Olszewski has 39%. The other three GOP candidates are Mary Todd with 11%, Matt Jette with 5%, and Mitch Heuer with 2%.
On the Democratic side, Monica Tranel is far ahead against two other candidates. As of 9 p.m., Tranel has a solid lead of 61% over Cora Neumann with 32% and Tom Winter with 7%.
Also on the November ballot will be Independent candidate Gary Buchanan, founder of Buchanan Capital in Billings. He gathered enough signatures to get his name on the ballot before the May 31 deadline.