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Montana Democrats Pick Former Legislator as New Chairman

By Beacon Staff

BOZEMAN – Montana Democrats picked a former legislator Saturday to lead the party.

Jim Elliott of Trout Creek served 16 years in both the state House and Senate before hitting term limits in the senior chamber.

Elliott says he may have been known for an independent streak as a lawmaker. But he says that is not the role he will play as chairman where he promises to unify Democrats.

Elliott was unopposed for the job. Current chairman Dennis McDonald is stepping down as he mounts a congressional campaign.

Elliott takes over in advance of a relatively calm election year. The only significant statewide race will be the run for U.S. House — also the last significant statewide elected office held by Republicans. McDonald and Missoula attorney Tyler Gernant are both vying to unseat Denny Rehberg.