2020 Montana General and Primary Elections Overview by Melody Benes

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Election and voter services can be found at: https://sosmt.gov/elections/. Photo courtesy of Montana Secretary of State.

Election and voter services can be found at https://sosmt.gov/elections/. Photo courtesy of Montana Secretary of State.


In today’s digital age it is easy to stay informed on local elections and politics if one chooses to. There are several resources to turn to, including Google and the Montana Secretary of State’s website. A quick Google search pulls up several websites; Ballotpedia, sosmt.gov, Wikipedia, apps.montanafreepress.org, CNN, and several others. This year there are several offices up for re-election, including incumbent Senator Daines office as well as U.S. House of Representatives and Montana Governor. 


This year the Republican primary for Governor has three options, current US House Representative Greg Gianforte, current Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, and finally, Al Olszewski, a state senator out of Kalispell. On the Democratic primary, current Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney, who was Secretary of State from 1989-2000 and a Montana legislator from 2003-2010, is running against Whitney Williams, who had previously worked for the Clinton Administration in the 1990’s and as Hilary Clinton’s 2008 campaign Finance Co-Chair in Washington. She is the daughter of former congressman Pat William and former Montana Senate Majority Leader Carol Williams. According to Montana Free Press, there are two third party candidates, neither of which have primaries. Libertarian Candidate Lyman Bishop and Green Party Robert Barb. 


Governor Bullock, who has been governor for two consecutive terms, has decided to run against Senator Daines for his seat, making this election cycle a landmark. Current Lewis and Clark County Commissioner Susan Good Giese, who has previously run as a Republican, registered as a Libertarian due to grievances with the Republican Party. It has been speculated that this race will draw national media attention as it could influence Senate majority.


In the Senate race, other candidates include, former Public Service Commissioner John Driscoll as a Republican, Republican Dan Larson of Stevensville, Democrat John Mues of Loma, Green Party Dennis Daneke of Lolo, and Green Party Wendie Frederickson. 


A few names may be recognizable in the US House Race include current Secretary of State Corey Stapleton and incumbent Matt Rosendale, both Republicans. For the Democrat nominee, Kathleen Williams, a former legislator from Bozeman is running against Tom Winter, a state senator from Missoula. There is one third party nominee, John Gibney of Hamilton for the Green Party. There are several other candidates in the Republican and Democrat parties fighting for their party’s nomination as well.


Other offices that are up are the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and State Auditor. An overview of the candidates and offices can be found at https://apps.montanafreepress.org/montana-2020/, this list was last updated March 10, 2020. Republican, Democrat, and Green Parties will have primary ballots, whereas the Libertarian Party will not.


Our primary election is June 2, but this year due to COVID-19 and concerns with Social Distancing, in-person voting will not be an option, so they have been moved to absentee ballots. 


Already this election is heating up with the Republican Party paying for the Green Party ballot access and COVID-19 making campaigning difficult. Expect to see initiatives regarding alternative energy and concealed carry revisions as well as other initiatives including Marijuana regulation on the November ballot. A complete list can be found here https://sosmt.gov/elections/ballot_issues/2020-2/


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