Williams, Gianforte Pick Running Mates In Governor’s Race
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Democrat Whitney Williams and Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte have selected their running mates, solidifying the field of announced gubernatorial candidates in the June 2 primary.
Williams announced Culbertson farmer Buzz Mattelin was joining her ticket during a Monday event in Helena. Mattelin is president of the National Barley Growers Association and a member of the Roosevelt County Conservation District Council. He previously served on the Culbertson school board.
“Buzz has spent his career fighting for our farmers and ranchers — and as a farmer himself, he knows firsthand that a changing Montana is hurting Montana families.” Williams said.
Mattelin said he wants “to give rural agriculture, conservation advocates, and Eastern Montanans a voice in Helena.”
Gianforte’s choice for lieutenant governor is Kristen Juras, an adjunct professor at the University of Montana law school who lost a 2016 bid for a seat on the Montana Supreme Court.
Gianforte made the announcement at a Sunday night event in Billings, saying Juras “knows how important it is to grow opportunities here in Montana to keep our families here and thriving.”
“It’s an honor to join you on the ticket and I’m excited to get to work with you to put Montana back on track,” Juras, 64, told the crowd, according to the Billings Gazette.
Juras is a fourth-generation Montanan who grew up on her family’s ranch near Conrad. According to the campaign, she helped farmers, ranchers, small business owners and people with disabilities while working as an attorney in private practice.
Republicans are trying to recapture a governor’s seat that Democrats have held onto for four straight terms, even as most other statewide offices in Montana switched to the GOP.
Gianforte faces in the primary Attorney General Tim Fox, who picked Bozeman lawmaker Jon Knokey as his running mate, and state Sen. Al Olszewski, who is running with state Sen. Kenneth Bogner of Miles City.
Williams’ opponent, Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, on Friday named 2019 House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner of Great Falls as his running mate.
Libertarian candidate Lyman Bishop of Kalispell is running with John Nesper, according to state records.
Gov. Steve Bullock cannot seek a third term because of term limits.