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Gianforte wins Montana gubernatorial primary

Gianforte wins Montana gubernatorial primary
© Greg Nash

Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteDemocrat trails by 3 points in Montana Senate race: poll Poll shows statistical tie in Montana Senate race Energized by polls, House Democrats push deeper into GOP territory MORE (R-Mont.) won the GOP primary in Montana’s gubernatorial race on Tuesday, setting the stage for what is expected to be a hard-fought battle to lead the state.

Gianforte beat out Tim Fox, his nearest competitor, by about 26 points with over 81 percent of precincts reporting. He is set to face off against Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney (D), who won his primary race by about 11 points.

The Montana Republican was elected to the state's at-large congressional seat during a special election to replace then-Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith Zinke5 major ways that Interior slashed protections for wildlife  Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina Conspicuous by their absence from the Republican Convention MORE in 2017. Gianforte opted to pursue higher office last year.

Gianforte and Cooney will run to replace Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockInterior says Pendley to remain at BLM despite 'dramatic tweets' from Democrats Democrat trails by 3 points in Montana Senate race: poll Poll shows statistical tie in Montana Senate race MORE (D), who is term-limited and running for the Senate. The Cook Political Report rates the Montana race as a "toss up."