Gianforte wins Montana gubernatorial primary

Gianforte wins Montana gubernatorial primary
© Greg Nash

Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteInternal poll shows tight battle in Montana House race Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle Governors get reelection boost from COVID-19 responses 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 ZinkeTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog | Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service | Senate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog MORE in 2017. Gianforte opted to pursue higher office last year.

Gianforte and Cooney will run to replace Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockThere's a big blue wave coming Internal poll shows tight battle in Montana House race The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations MORE (D), who is term-limited and running for the Senate. The Cook Political Report rates the Montana race as a "toss up."