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Field grows in race for Montana's new U.S. House seat

by Associated Press
| November 3, 2021 12:00 PM

HELENA — Another Democrat has joined the race for Montana's new U.S. House seat, expanding an already large field before maps to define the boundaries of the congressional seats are finalized.

Former state lawmaker Tom Winter is the newest entry and joined fellow Democrats state lawmaker Laurie Bishop, public health professional Cora Neumann and lawyer Monica Tranel, who announced their candidacies for the state's yet-to-be-drawn western U.S. House district earlier this year.

The 2020 Census gave Montana a second congressional district for the first time in 30 years, launching a redistricting process that included debate about the changing nature of the state.

Booming towns such as Bozeman and Missoula in western Montana provide a contrast to the stagnating agricultural communities in the prairie region of the eastern half of the state.

The state's redistricting commission must finalize the borders for the congressional districts by Nov. 14.

Winter, who lives in Missoula, was elected to the state Legislature in 2018 and left his post after one term.

He ran for Congress in 2020, losing the Democrat primary to Kathleen Williams, in which he got just over 10% of the vote.

Winter told the Montana State News Bureau that his priorities include universal pre-kindergarten, a living wage and a sustained and concerted action on climate change.

"Wages are not keeping up with our ability to build housing or to provide health care or going to college," Winter said.

The ever expanding field for the new U.S. House district also includes Republican Kalispell pastor Mary Todd, a political novice who joined the race last month.

Todd defines herself as "an unapologetic 'America First' conservative" and a leader in the pro-life movement, the Daily Inter Lake reported.

She is the pastor of Purpose Church in Kalispell and has also said she is pro-gun and "anti-radical indoctrination" in schools.

Other Republicans running for the seat include former U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and former state Sen. Al Olszewski.