Four Democrats Withdraw From House Races

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Four Democratic candidates in House districts in Missoula, Great Falls, Helena and Billings have withdrawn from their races.

Local Democratic committees will choose, or have chosen, replacement candidates.

In Missoula, Democratic nominee Gary Brown on Wednesday withdrew his candidacy in House District 100, which includes suburban and rural areas in western Missoula County.

Brown said he withdrew because he’s been diagnosed with lung cancer and can’t devote time to the campaign. Brown, a retired state forester, had been the nominee to run against Rep. Bill Nooney, R-Missoula. The Missoula Democratic Central Committee meets next Tuesday to choose a replacement for Brown.

Democratic legislative nominee Kristina Davis withdrew from her race in House District 18, in Great Falls, citing a potential conflict with her new job as state director of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Davis operates the fund’s Montana office out of her home. She took the job July 21 and says neither she nor party leaders in Great Falls realized at first how much lobbying the job would involve.

The District 18 race in southwestern Great Falls had pitted Davis against Republican incumbent Jesse O’Hara. The Cascade County Democratic Central Committee will select a replacement for Davis.

In Billings, Democrats have chosen retired substitute teacher Linda Kay Wetzel to run in House District 53 to replace Gaye Kopczynski, who withdrew for personal reasons.

Wetzel will oppose Rep. Elise Arntzen, R-Billing. HD53 covers southwestern Billings.

Wetzel lost a primary race this spring in adjoining HD55. She said she wants to offer voters of HD53 a choice, and that she’ll be campaigning as someone who can work across party lines to help improve the economy.

In House District 77, which includes Jefferson County and southern Helena, Democratic challenger David Traynor of Helena withdrew in mid-July and has been replaced by Stan Voreyer, also of Helena.

Voreyer will be running against incumbent Rep. Scott Mendenhall, R-Clancy.