“While the 2020 election is a long way off, Republicans and Democrats alike … are already prepping for what could be a game-changing event:” Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) running for governor.
“Gianforte, who lost the 2016 gubernatorial race to” Gov. Steve Bullock (D), “is seriously considering making another run for the office in 2020.”
“Two other prominent Republican officeholders have already said they’re running for governor in 2020: Attorney General Tim Fox, who can’t run for re-election because of term limits, and Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, who could run for re-election if he chose. … state Sen. Al Olszewski (R), who ran last year for the U.S. Senate but lost in the primary election” also said he is running for governor.
“Gianforte hasn’t said publicly what he plans to do in 2020. His office released a statement Wednesday saying he is ‘honored by the trust and confidence Montanans have in him and remains focused on the job they elected him to do — represent them in Congress, put Montana first and protect our Montana way of life.’ The prospect of Gianforte running for governor also has Montana Democrats thinking positive thoughts about the 2020 election.”
State Democratic Party Executive Director Monica Lindeen: “We see all sorts of opportunities to take back statewide offices.”
Montana State University political scientist David Parker: “The problem that Democrats face is they don’t have a very large bench. It’s not really sure where they would get the candidates to run. On the one hand, it is an opportunity for a less-than-seasoned candidate to run in an open-seat environment. On the other hand, who the heck are those people?”
“So far, a Democratic candidate for the open governor’s seat has yet to surface. Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney (D) said he’s considering it, but has made no decision. Billings attorney John Heenan (D), who lost a narrow race to Williams in the U.S. House Democratic primary last June, also may consider the governor’s race, if Gianforte gets in. (MTN News)