Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte is preparing to enter the 2020 race for governor, MTN News has learned.
Sources told MTN News that Gianforte is telling fellow Republicans he plans to formally announce his candidacy soon and that he’s prepared to spend several million dollars of his personal wealth on the campaign.
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Gianforte would be the fourth Republican to enter the 2020 governor’s race, joining Attorney General Tim Fox, state Senator Al Olszewski of Kalispell, and Secretary of State Corey Stapleton.
The Governor position is an open seat next year in Montana because term limits prevent Gov. Steve Bullock from running for re-election. He has announced his candidacy the U.S. presidency.
No Democratic candidate has surfaced yet for governor in 2020, although sources tell MTN News that Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney is seriously considering the race.
Gianforte’s entry into the gubernatorial race also would open up the 2020 contest for Montana’s only U.S. House seat.
Democrats Kathleen Williams of Bozeman and Tom Winter of Missoula have already announced their campaigns for the House seat.
Gianforte is the co-founder of a Bozeman software-development firm that was sold in 2014 for one-point-eight-billion dollars.
Gianforte lost the 2016 governor’s race to Bullock and has twice won election as congressman for Montana.
-Mike Dennison reporting for MTN News