Montana has an eight year (two term) limit for the tenure of a Governor. Accordingly, Governor Steve Bullock (D) is not qualified to run again — and is otherwise engaged, running for President. This leaves a wide-open field in both major political parties consisting of actual or likely candidates to be the next Governor, a matter to be decided in November 2020.
On the Republican side, there are already five declared candidates for Governor. One of these — probably the front-runner — is Greg Gianforte, who won a special election in 2017 to become the state’s at-large US Congressman, and who drew national attention with an assault upon a reporter, Ben Jacobs, on that election eve. Gianforte later pleaded guilty to the criminal assault, and was fined and sentenced to community service.
On the Democratic side, there are two declared candidates, former state representative Reilly Neill, and Montana House minority leader Casey Schreiner. Another likely candidate who has not declared yet is Whitney Williams, a businesswoman who served as finance co-chair in Washington State for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 primary campaign.
The Thing to Know:
Despite its modest population, Montana has a history of producing figures of national and even international stature. These include Mike Mansfield, who was the longest-serving Senate Majority Leader in history (1961 – 1977), and Max Baucus, served in both the House and the Senate and more recently was the US Ambassador to the Peoples’ Republic of China (2014-2017).