In western district, Republican Zinke takes lead at 50 percent to Tranel’s 46 percent
Libertarian Lamb had 4 percent and could siphon from GOP
Photo illustration by Getty Images.
Republican Ryan Zinke had pulled ahead of Democrat Monica Tranel on Wednesday in the western district for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Zinke, favored to win, had 109,702 votes to Tranel’s 101,757, according to the Montana Secretary of State’s Office. As of midday, 70 percent of precincts were reporting.
Libertarian John Lamb was taking 4 percent of the vote, and political analysts have said those votes could hurt Zinke.
The western district in Montana is new this year after the U.S. Census gave the state one more member in the House of Representatives.
It’s been Zinke’s race to lose, according to national political analysts; the former U.S. Navy SEAL won elections to serve in the U.S. House in 2014 and 2016 and was later appointed by former President Donald Trump as Secretary of the Interior.
But Montana analysts have seen weaknesses, and he’s faced an aggressive competitor in Tranel, a Missoula lawyer and former Olympic rower.
Zinke also has faced hurdles, such as federal probes from his time as secretary and questions about where he lives given his wife has a residence in Santa Barbara, California.
Political analysts have said the scandals might affect people’s enthusiasm to vote for the Republican.
With votes still to be counted, Zinke had 50 percent of the vote to Tranel’s 46 percent, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
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