By Missoula Current
Montana Republican leaders gave their party’s nomination to the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House to technology entrepreneur Greg Gianforte on Monday night.
The Bozeman businessman was the GOP candidate for governor last fall, losing in the general election to Gov. Steve Bullock. This time, he’ll face musician Rob Quist of Creston in a May 25 vote to pick a successor to Rep. Ryan Zinke.
Zinke resigned last week after being confirmed and sworn in as the new Interior secretary.
At Monday’s convention of GOP delegates, Gianforte won on the first ballot with 150.5 votes. To win, a candidate needed 123 votes.
Other contenders for the party’s nod were state Rep. Carl Glimm, of Kila; state Rep. Ed Buttrey, of Great Falls; Ken Miller, a former state senator from Laurel; Dean Rehbein, a Missoula contractor; and Sam Redfern, who heads a Missoula nonprofit.
In his speech to the convention delegates, Gianforte hailed his support for the Trump administration. “We need to back Donald Trump and keep this seat in Republican hands,” he said.
He also took his first swipes at Quist, who was nominated at a Democratic convention on Sunday. “We don’t need to send Nancy Pelosi a court musician who wants to socialize medicine,” Gianforte said.
Meanwhile, thehill.com reported Monday that the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a super PAC aligned with the House GOP leadership, already has launched a $700,000 ad campaign attacking Quist.
The ad, running on cable TV stations statewide, swipes at Quist as “too liberal” and “out of tune.”
“Democrats have lined up behind a candidate they know nothing about and we look forward to exposing Quist’s baggage over the next several weeks,” Congressional Leadership Fund executive director Corry Bliss said in a prepared statement.
Gianforte is best known as the founder of RightNow Technologies, a Bozeman high-tech start-up that eventually sold to Oracle for $1.8 billion. He lost November’s gubernatorial election to Bullock, who painted him as an out-of-stater out of touch with Montana values. Gianforte is originally from New Jersey.