Big Sky Roundup

Zinke wins GOP nomination in western district

By: - June 10, 2022 9:41 am

U.S. Congressman Ryan Zinke of Montana speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore).

After a neck and neck race, Ryan Zinke pushed ahead with 42 percent of the vote for the Republican win in the western district for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Al “Doc” Olszewski had nipped at his heels and even pulled ahead at times as the votes poured in following Tuesday’s primary, but he fell short in the end, with just 40 percent of the take. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Olszewski earned 33,633 votes to 35,241 for  Zinke, the former House representative and once Secretary of the Interior for the Trump Administration.

The candidates were farther apart in fundraising, with Olszewski pulling in just $710,000 to Zinke’s $2.9 million, according to the most recent reports to the Federal Elections Commission.

“Thank you, western Montana, for your confidence that American can be fixed and for ignoring the political BS,” Zinke said in a statement released on Twitter. “Thank you also President (Donald) Trump, Senator (Steve) Daines and Governor (Greg) Gianforte for their complete and total endorsements.”

In the general election, Zinke will take on Democrat Monica Tranel, a Missoula lawyer and former Olympian who once ran as a Republican for the Public Service Commission.

In the most recent U.S. Census, Montana gained a seat in the House, and in his statement, Zinke praised Rep. Matt Rosendale, the GOP incumbent running in the eastern district against Democrat Penny Ronning.

“We have a great team and dedicated volunteers who believe in American values,” Zinke said. “I look forward to working with Congressman Rosendale on solving the hard issues that face America and the Great State of Montana. One State. Two US Representatives, one fight for freedom.”

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