The major party candidates for Governor of Montana are: Mike Cooney (D), the incumbent’s lieutenant governor, and Greg Gianforte (R), the co-founder of a customer relations software company called RightNow Technologies.
In 2012, Gianforte received an honorary doctorate from the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. The press release announcing this described him as a “renowned and accomplished technology innovator.”
It is only since selling his share of RightNow that Gianforte has devoted himself to politics. Bullock defeated him in the gubernatorial campaign of four years ago. In 2017, Gianforte won a special election for a House seat, and then won re-election to that seat in the regular election of the following year.
His opponent, Lt. Governor Cooney, was born into a political family. He is the grandson of Frank Henry Cooney, Governor from 1933 to 1935. In the 1970s, as a young man, Mike Cooney worked for Max Baucus, as advance man in Baucus’ successful first campaign for Congress in 1974.
The Thing to Know:
The bipartisan Cook Report lists the Montana gubernatorial election as a toss-up.
This contest may have an impact on the Presidential race. Montana usually votes Republican at the top of the ticket, but there have been exceptions. It voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. A strong performance by Cooney could benefit the Biden campaign’s hopes of putting this state in play.