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Gianforte wins Montana gubernatorial primary

Gianforte wins Montana gubernatorial primary
© Greg Nash

Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteOvernight Health Care: CDC calls for schools to reopen with precautions | Cuomo faces rising scrutiny over COVID-19 nursing home deaths | Biden officials move to begin rescinding Medicaid work requirements Montana governor lifts state mask mandate Democrats argue Trump will incite violence again 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 ZinkeOvernight Energy: Interior finalizes plan to open 80 percent of Alaska petroleum reserve to drilling | Justice Department lawyers acknowledge presidential transition in court filing | Trump admin pushes for permits for men who inspired Bundy standoff Trump administration pushes for grazing permits for men who inspired Bundy standoff Interior secretary tests positive for COVID-19 after two days of meetings with officials: report MORE in 2017. Gianforte opted to pursue higher office last year.

Gianforte and Cooney will run to replace Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockOvernight Health Care: CDC calls for schools to reopen with precautions | Cuomo faces rising scrutiny over COVID-19 nursing home deaths | Biden officials move to begin rescinding Medicaid work requirements Montana governor lifts state mask mandate Lobbying world MORE (D), who is term-limited and running for the Senate. The Cook Political Report rates the Montana race as a "toss up."