Panel Tables Measure Seeking Open Primary

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – A Republican proposal to revamp the state’s primary election system is being tabled.

The House State Administration Committee made the move Thursday with a 16-3 vote just two days after the bill was introduced.

Under the proposal, only the top two candidates who receive the most votes in a primary election would advance to the general election. A candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the vote in a primary would win the election outright and no general election would be held.

Some Republicans believe that a Libertarian candidate in the 2012 U.S. Senate race may have cost Republican Denny Rehberg the race.

But critics of House Bill 436 said it would lead to a complicated primary ballot packed with multiple Republicans, Democrats and third-party candidates.

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