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Election news from Yellowstone Public Radio and its partners to help you make an informed decision at the polls.

Ronning, Rosendale advance to general election in Montana's 2nd Congressional District

ronning primary kd.jpg
Kayla Desroches
Yellowstone Public Radio
Democratic candidate Penny Ronning speaks to supporters at her primary watch party Tuesday night. She and incumbent Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale secured their parties' nominations in the race for House District 2.

Republican incumbent Rep. Matt Rosendale and Democrat Penny Ronning secured their parties’ nominations to advance to the Nov. 8 general election for Montana’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Rosendale won the GOP primary early Tuesday evening, beating pharmacist Kyle Austin, medical sales rep James Boyette and entrepreneur Charles Walking Child with 73% of votes as of 10 p.m., according to unofficial election results.

A headshot of Matt Rosendale, wearing a black suit, blue tie and lapel pin that looks like a flag but is hard to see clearly enough to decipher what it represents.
Franmarie Metzler
Official Portrait of Representative Matt Rosendale

Speaking to YPR after the race was called, Rosendale said when he was first elected to Congress in 2020 representing all of Montana, voters didn’t know how he would perform in office.

“To come up here, serve nearly two years and have them re-nominate you, that shows an incredible level of confidence that’s quite humbling,” he said.

Rosendale says the issues in the general election are “kitchen table” issues of high gas prices, inflation, low GDP and supply chain problems.

“They all have been caused by the decisions that have been caused by this administration,” he said.

In the Democratic primary, Ronning, a former Billings City Council member, came out ahead of first-time candidate Skylar Williams and the late state Sen. Mark Sweeney, who died unexpectedly on May 6 just a few days before absentee ballots were sent out. Unofficial election results show as of 11 p.m. Penny Ronning had 61% of votes, Williams 17% and Sweeney 20%

Ronning says the initial results show voters connected with her and her campaign.

“That’s what was most important to me, that we weren’t this political message. We were a message about the people of Montana and identifying with the people of Montana.”

In the three-person Libertarian race, Sam Rankin, who previously ran for U.S. House and U.S. Senate, was leading attorney Roger Roots and first-time candidate Samuel Thomas as of 11 p.m. Unofficial results show Rankin with 43% of votes, Roots with 23% and Thomas with 27%.

The race in November will likely have a fourth opponent this fall: Gary Buchanan, the state’s first Department of Commerce director, collected enough signatures to get on the general election ballot as an independent candidate, though the Secretary of State’s office still needs to certify them. Buchanan received the endorsement of Republican former Gov. Marc Racicot and Democratic former state Rep. Dorothy Bradley.

The general election is on Nov. 8.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.
Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.