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12 candidates seek open U.S. House seat for Montana's eastern congressional district

Replacing Rosendale
Posted at 9:00 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 13:29:41-04

U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale's decision not to seek reelection has led to the most crowded race in Montana's primary this year: 12 candidates – eight Republicans and four Democrats – running for U.S. House in the state's 2nd Congressional District, which covers much of central and eastern Montana, including Billings, Great Falls and Helena.

MTN interviewed all of the candidates to find out more about their priorities and how they're trying to differentiate themselves from the rest of the field.

Republican Candidates:

Replacing Rosendale

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, a native of Billings, says voters in the 2nd Congressional District are looking for a candidate who's conservative not only on fiscal issues, but cultural ones as well.

Replacing Rosendale

Pharm406 pharmacy owner Kyle Austin, of Billings, ran against Rosendale in the 2022 House primary, and he says he wants to operate differently if he's elected to Congress.

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Montana Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Ken Bogner, of Miles City, says he's championed issues like security in the Legislature, and he wants to bring them to the federal level.

Replacing Rosendale

State Auditor Troy Downing says he's had a record in business, in the military and in his current office that makes him the strongest Republican candidate for the 2nd District.

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Former state Sen. Ric Holden, of Dawson County, says he wants to give Montana farmers and ranchers a voice in Congress, and he's taking the message to voters face to face.

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Attorney and former state Rep. Joel Krautter, of Billlings, stands out in the Republican field as the only candidate who says he won't vote for former President Donald Trump in 2024.

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Former U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, of Billings, is touting his experience representing Montana in Congress for more than a decade as what sets him apart in this race.

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Former DEA agent Stacy Zinn, of Billings, says she spent her career tackling cartels and terrorists, and she wants to bring that unique background to Congress.

A ninth candidate will appear on the Republican ballot, but is no longer actively campaigning. Former state Sen. Ed Walker of Billings announced he was ending his campaign last month.


Democratic Candidates:

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Former pharmaceutical sales representative Ming Cabrera, of Billings, says he faces a big challenge in an area that has long voted Republican, but he'll try to reach voters one person at a time.

Replacing Rosendale

Former Public Service Commissioner John Driscoll, of Helena, has one clear difference from his fellow candidates – he says he’s refusing to raise money for campaigning.

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Montana Pride president and business owner Kevin Hamm, of Helena, says he brings voters something they won't get from other candidates, and he's touting that authenticity.

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Rancher and business owner Steve Held, of Broadus, says he never registered with a party before deciding to join this race, and he believes there's still room for common ground.