Republican Congressman Matt Rosendale wins re-election
The AP has called the race in Montana's 2nd Congressional District for U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale.
Unofficial results show the Republican incumbent congressman with 57% of votes in the four-person race for the eastern district seat.
Independent Gary Buchanan and Democrat Penny Ronning followed with 22% and 20% of votes, respectively. Libertarian Sam Rankin, who ran a minimal and largely self-funded campaign, received 1% of votes.
As of about 1 a.m., about 41% of precincts were reporting results.
Rosendale has served as the state’s at-large representative since 2021 and will serve a second term in Congress.
The Republican election night watch party in Helena wrapped up two-and-a-half hours after polls closed, with many counties in the state awaiting final counts. The smaller group of 20 people that remained later in the night left feeling confident in Rosendale’s lead.
Rosendale briefly attended the gathering and thanked attendees for their work in the elections.
“I know it's going to be probably a long night,” he said. “There's a lot of returns that have to come in and some of these races are going to be a lot closer than any of us would like to see.”
Rosendale then left to watch the race privately with his family.
Ronning joined the Yellowstone County Democrats in her hometown of Billings Tuesday night to celebrate her campaign.
Around 50 people gathered for the watch party at the Elks Lodge, many of them friends and supporters of both Ronning and county Democrats. Ronning told Yellowstone Public Radio that she was feeling calm and would be comfortable with any result.
“I’ve had a great team and we’ve put it all out there,” she said.
A couple of hours after polls closed, Ronning gave a rallying speech to supporters.
“Tomorrow, we organize,” she said. “Tonight, we celebrate because we’re gonna have a lot of wins in this house.”
A couple of miles away, Buchanan held a watch party in the Petroleum Club downtown.
Buchanan said he felt good despite unofficial results showing him trailing Rosendale.
“Win or lose, I’m very very proud of how far we’ve come,” he said.
At around 10:30 p.m. with results still coming in, Buchanan said he felt his win was a long shot. Buchanan had been endorsed by Republican former Gov. Marc Racicot and Democratic former state Rep. Dorothy Bradley, as well as some of the state’s largest labor unions, including the Montana Federation of Public Employees.
The race for Montana's western congressional district seat has not been called. As of about 1 a.m. Democrat Monica Tranel carried a slight lead over Republican Ryan Zinke with 49% of votes to Zinke's 47%.
Several of the state’s largest counties, including Yellowstone in District 2, didn’t release preliminary results until hours after polls closed.
YPR's Nadya Faulx contributed reporting.