Field of Democratic U.S. House Hopefuls Expands

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – The field of Democrats seeking the state’s lone U.S. House seat continues to grow as the party hopes to capitalize on Denny Rehberg’s departure.

Rehberg is leaving the seat to challenge U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

Republicans have so far rallied around Bozeman businessman Steve Daines. But Democrats now have seven primary entrants.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports that Missoula writer Melinda Gopher is going to make another run at the nomination after losing in 2010. Another candidate from two years ago, Sam Rankin of Billings, is also mulling another run.

Others in the race include State Rep. Kim Gillan of Billings, state Rep. Franke Wilmer of Bozeman, businesswoman Diane Smith of Whitefish, Missoula city councilman Dave Strohmaier, attorney Rob Stutz of Helena, contractor and farmer Jason Ward of Hardin.