The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

Exclusive: Gianforte 'Seriously Considering' Run for Governor

 

April 10, 2019

Glasgow Courier Archive Photo

Gianforte discusses drought conditions with farmers and ranchers at Farm Equipment Sales in Glasgow in this July 2017 archive photo.

In an interview with the Glasgow Courier to discuss trade negotiations in China on April 12, Congressman Greg Gianforte said he was "seriously considering" a run for Governor in 2020. This marks the first public comment made by the two-term Congressman and one-time gubernatorial hopeful on his plans for 2020.

"I'm talking to people all over the state," said Gianforte. I'm being encouraged to consider a run for Governor and I am seriously considering that but have not made a final decision."

If Gianforte enters the race he would join the ranks of current Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, former State Senator Gary Perry, current State Senator Al Olszewski, Montana Secretary of State Cory Stapleton and political newcomer and Army veteran Peter Ziehli, who have all launched bids for the nomination.

No official race declarations have been made on the Democratic ticket but possible runners include Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins, Lt. Governor Mike Cooney, former Congressional hopeful John Heenan, and businesswoman Whitney Williams, are all rumored possibilities for the Democratic nomination.

The only public comments regarding the Democratic side of the race came in a March 20 article in the Billings Gazette, in which Collins said he is thinking about running for Montana Governor, U.S. Senate or U.S. House, but he is not "limiting himself."

The sitting Montana Governor Steve Bullock has reached his term limit and is said to be considering a possible run for President. If he follows through on that intention, he would join a list of Democratic hopefuls, currently numbered at 20, with former Vice President Joe Biden also likely to enter the race.

Gianforte's plans would leave open the question of who would challenge the Democratic nominee for Montana's sole Representative seat in Washington, D.C. Currently, Kathleen Williams and Tom Winter are the only declared candidates for the race, and both are Democrats vying for their party's nomination.

Williams had run against Greg Gianforte for Congress in 2018, but lost by a little under five percent of the vote. Williams had served three terms in the Montana Legislature before taking a statewide nomination. She announced her candidacy and took to the State earlier this year, making a stop in Glasgow on April 8 to meet with voters.

Winter currently serves on the Montana State Legislature representing House District 96, which is made up of part of Missoula and the surrounding area. He only took office in 2018 when he unseated Republican Adam Hertz by a mere 39 votes.

Gianforte is considered to be a favorite for the Republican nomination with his role in Congress and previous run at Governor against incumbent Steve Bullock in 2016. He is expected, however, to come under criticism for an incident involving Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs during the special election for House in 2017. Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault after admitting ​he body slammed Jacobs on the eve of that election.

 

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