The rumor that Congressman Greg Gianforte might vacate his seat in Congress to pursue a run for governor has us deeply concerned. As Montanans, Republicans, and citizens who care about the direction of our country and state, we urge the congressman to consider the consequences of forfeiting the power of incumbency by leaving a seat he was elected to less than two years ago.
Congressman Gianforte asked us to vote for him last November so he could fight for Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives. We fought tirelessly and then we voted. Already, Greg has been appointed to the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, a committee critical to the development of our state’s natural resource economy. He shouldn’t ignore how important it is for Montana to have his strong Republican voice in Congress to support the president’s efforts to reform Washington.
And it’s not just the congressional seat Republicans could potentially lose in an unnecessary shuffle.
The possibility of an open congressional seat is already enticing a mass of current Republican statewide officeholders to leave their current offices. Offices we just took back from the Democrats. If Gianforte chooses not to run as the incumbent for Congress, the subsequent “Republican shuffle” creates a strong likelihood that Democrats will regain power in our state.
Given that Republican Attorney General Tim Fox has expressed interest in the governor’s seat, it’s also fair to ask the congressman to consider if he’s currently the best candidate for the job. Greg’s aggressive approach and acumen makes him the ideal person to make a real difference in D.C.
AG Fox’s Montana roots and general popularity, combined with his good work in securing Montana’s borders from drug traffickers, makes him an exceptional gubernatorial General Election candidate. Montana Republicans have already demonstrated their support of Tim Fox. In 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received 279,240 votes, or 56 percent of the vote in Montana. Tim Fox earned 50,000 more votes at 332,766 – the largest tally ever received by a Republican candidate.
After 14 years of Democratic control of the governor’s mansion, the 2020 election is important to Montana Republicans. AG Fox is a proven leader with a track record of positive results. He has shown he can win big in Montana statewide races in the general election. When we consider House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s vindictive pursuit of President Trump, and the fact that Montana only has a single congressional seat, it becomes clear that Montana must have a powerful and proven congressman. Incumbent Congressman Gianforte is a forceful conservative capable of holding the line.
We ask Montana Republicans to join with us in supporting Greg Gianforte for Congress and Tim Fox for governor. As longtime Republicans, we hope the rumor of a dangerous Republican shuffle does not destroy the foundation we have all worked so hard to build.
Ted Kronebusch is chair of the Pondera County Republican Central Committee; Chris Hindoien is chair of the Teton County Republican Central Committee; Liane Johnson is former chair/vice chair of the Montana Republican Party and former chair of the Glacier County Republican Central Committee.