Montana’s Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte Friday officially announced his run in the state’s 2020 election for governor.
The second-term congressman made the announcement at the Montana Republican Party Convention in Helena. His entry into the crowded GOP primary prompted one candidate to go on the attack and speculation that others may change their plans with the state's only U.S. House seat now open.
Attorney General Tim Fox is also running for governor. His spokesman Jack Cutter accused Gianforte of putting his ambitions above his commitments to the state. Gianforte responded that it was unfortunate that Fox is starting the race negatively.
Another Republican candidate for Montana’s governorship, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, says he will make "a big announcement" about his 2020 election plans on Saturday morning. He declined to elaborate.
Drew Zinecker, a spokesman for state Senator Al Olszewski, says Olszewski will remain in the governor's race. Former state senator Garry Perry is the fifth Republican candidate.
Democratic candidates include former state representative Reilly Neill and State House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner.
This will be Gianforte’s second attempt to become governor. He lost the 2016 election to Democratic incumbent Steve Bullock by about 19,000 votes. Bullock will reach his term limit for governor in 2020 and recently threw his hat into the ring of candidates for the next presidential election.
The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that Bullock was one of the candidates who did not qualify for the party's first presidential debates later this month.