MONTANA
     Nov. 3, 2020 Governor

Gov.
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Sen.2
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+Greg Gianforte/Kristen Juras (R)
328,548
54.43%
Mike Cooney/Casey Schreiner (D) 250,860
41.56%
Lyman Bishop/John Nesper (L) 24,179
4.01%

603,587


Registration:
752,538.  Total Turnout: 612,075. 
Margin of victory: 77,688 votes (12.87 percentage points).
 MT Secretary of State




REPUBLICAN PICK-UP
Notes:
Gov. Steve Bullock (D) was term-limited. U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R)/attorney Kristen Juras defeated Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney (D)/House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner and Lyman Bishop (L)/John Nesper by 328 548 votes (54.43%) to 250,860 (41.56%) and 24,179 (4.01%). 

Republicans achieved wins up and down the ballot.  In addition to winning the governorship, Trump defeated Biden by 56.92% to 40.55%;
Sen. Steve Daines (R) won a second term, defeating outgoing Gov. Bullock (D) by 55.01% to 44.99%; Republicans held the U.S. House seat; and they strengthened their control in the legislature.
 
The election presented a sharp contrast between Cooney, who had decades of experience in government as state Representative (1977-81), Secretary of State (1989-2001), state Senator (2003-11), and Lieutenant Governor (appointed in Jan. 2016).  Gianforte brought primarily a business background as co-founder of RightNow Technologies; he was elected to Congress in 2017 and was the richest member of the House.  Both made previous runs for governor.  Cooney sought the Democratic nomination in 2000, finishing third, while Gianforte was the GOP nominee in 2016 and lost to Bullock.

The June 2 primary was the first in the state conducted by mail-in ballot.  Both parties saw competitive primaries. 
On the Democratic side Cooney announced House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner as his running mate on Feb. 20.  Whitney Williams, founder and CEO of the williamsworks consulting firm, announced Buzz Mattelin, a farmer from Roosevelt Co. and president of the National Barley Growers Association, on Mar. 2.  In the primary Cooney/Schreiner defeated Williams/Mattelin by 81,576 votes (54.86%) to 67,066 (45.14%).  In the Republican primary Greg Gianforte/Kristen Juras defeated Attorney General Tim Fox/state Rep. Jon Knokey and state Sen. Al "Doc" Olszewski/state Sen. Ken Bogner by 119,247 votes (53.44%) to 60,823 (27.26%) and 43,080 (19.31%).
 

On July 15 Gianforte announced the "Montana Comeback Plan," which served as the centerpiece of his campaign. [PDF One of Cooney's major themes was "bringing Republicans and Democrats together to get the job done."

MTN News hosted a debate between Cooney and Gianforte on Oct. 3; the candidates and moderators appeared from remote locations (>).  Montana PBS held an in-person debate
between the two candidates at the Montana PBS studios on the University of Montana campus in Missoula on Oct. 6 (>).
 

Gianforte loaned his campaign over $7.5 million (>).  According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics (>), Gianforte outspent Cooney by $11,510,340 to $4,017,007. 



Campaign Managers
:
Greg Gianforte: Jake Eaton
President/CEO of Ultra Graphics Billings from Dec. 2012; chairman of WDRP Management in Billings from Jan. 2016; and president of The Political Company in Billings from Jan. 2016.  Partner at 47 North Communications, 2010-15.  Chief of staff on Montanans for Rehberg (U.S. Senate campaign), 2011-12.  Executive director of the Montana Republican Party, 2007-08.  Grassroots director on Rehberg for Congress, 2006-07.  Field rep. for U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, 2005-06.  Specialist in Company C, 1st Battaion 163rd Infantry Regiment in Iraq, July 2004-Nov. 2005.  Studied political science at University of Montana, 2001-04; and studied at Miles Community College, 1991-2001.

Mike Cooney: Brad Elkins
Campaign manager on Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate, 2018.  Campaign manager on Alejandra Campoverdi for Congress in the CA-34 special election, 2017.  Deputy campaign manager for Jason Kander for Senate, 2016. Nevada state director and Midwest regional political director on Martin O'Malley's presidential campaign and earlier political advisor to O'Malley's O'PAC, 2015. Political director for Jack Hatch's 2014 campaign for governor in Iowa.  National political director for the Truman Project.  Co-founder of Democracy, Diplomacy, Development, and Defense (4D) PAC.   B.A. in computer science/mathematics and international affairs from Lewis & Clark College.  From Pasadena, CA.




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