Campaign Watch: Zinke, Lewis Campaign in the Flathead

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner appeared with Zinke in Flathead

By Lisa Baumann, Associated Press

HELENA — U.S. House candidates Ryan Zinke and John Lewis brought in some heavy hitters to raise fund for their campaigns this week. A look at the week’s most interesting and important developments in Montana’s election campaigns:


U.S. House Speaker John Boehner appeared with Zinke at a $1,000-per-person reception at a home in Whitefish. For $2,600, attendees could have a photo taken with Boehner and the Republican candidate, and for $10,000 per couple, they could attend a VIP round-table discussion, according to the invitation. Lewis attended a fundraiser at a supporter’s home in Missoula with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Lee Newspapers State Bureau reported. The invitation suggested donations ranging from $250 to $1,000.


In the week after state Rep. Amanda Curtis was selected by the Montana Democratic Party as the U.S. Senate candidate to replace Sen. John Walsh, she and her opponent, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, have been crisscrossing the state to campaign. Daines has been meeting with businesses and industry groups in timber, cement, energy and other fields in towns including Missoula, Clancy and Butte. Curtis has been on a meet-and-greet tour, visiting business owners in Bozeman, attending a rally in Billings and meeting people at the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Chambers in Lame Deer, among other stops.


For Lewis and Zinke, it was about logging campaign miles this week. Both spent time at The Crow Fair and Rodeo near Billings. Lewis met with tribal leaders at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to discuss issues including workforce development needs and health care. He also visited businesses in Polson, Whitefish and Kalispell. Zinke spent part of the week in eastern Montana, where he held a rally and visited businesses in Plentywood and Glasgow.


Elaine G. Olsen was selected this week as the new Democratic candidate in the House District 19 race, the Great Falls Tribune reported. Olsen replaces Evan Bowser, who withdrew from the race to focus on his expanding business, according to a spokesman for the Montana Democratic Party. Olsen, who grew up on a farm she now helps manage, told the Tribune she wanted to run because she’s concerned about efforts to privatize public lands and waterways. Her Republican opponent is Randy Pinocci. House District 19 is the largest district in Cascade County, which covers Fort Shaw, Ulm, Cascade, Sand Coulee, Belt, Vaughn and other towns.

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