Montana’s new western congressional district, which the state gained back after losing it in the 1990 census, is proving to be a fiery political race among GOP candidates. The most high-profile candidate is Ryan Zinke, a former House member. He’s successfully campaigning to represent Montana’s newly created 1st District. It’s in the western part of the state. 

The primary election is June 7, Zinke has raised by far the most money of any GOP candidate.

He’s made a series of public campaign appearances lately and is running on a pro-fossil fuel and pro-life agenda. He also has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

Zinke was the 52nd Secretary of the Interior of the United States and a former Montana Senator. He was elected to the Senate in 2008 and served from 2009 to 2011. He served on the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, chaired the Senate Education Committee, and also served on the House Armed Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committees. 

Zinke served as part of the Navy SEALs and was named acting commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula in 2004. During that time, he led Special Operations  in Iraq. He has a history of opposing environmental groups. He’s up against four other GOP candidates.

At the end of March, Zinke’s congressional campaign reported a total of $2,484,819.24. 

Dr. Al  Oszewski reported $678,063.92, Kalispell’s Mary Todd, reported raising $167,779.17.

Mitch Heuer, from Whitefish, and Matt Jette, from Missoula, did not report any money from supporters, and it’s unclear if either of them have resonated with voters.

Dr. Oszewski is a former state legislator and orthopedic surgeon. He’s run twice unsuccessfully but he’s considered one of the better known candidates in the race.

The candidates have debated their individual platforms on education, energy policy, state spending, abortion and the environment.

The primary is June 7. Get out and cast your vote!