Trump Interior Secretary Zinke files to run for Congress, again
Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to seek a new term in Congress, six years after leaving office to join the Trump administration.
Zinke, 59, a Republican, won two elections to represent Montana’s lone congressional district, in 2014 and 2016. He was the first Navy SEAL to serve in the House of Representatives, and he won a spot in former President Trump’s Cabinet after bonding with Donald Trump Jr.
In office, Zinke courted controversy, coming under investigation for using private planes to travel to events and to raise funds for Republican causes. He cited the investigations into what he called “false allegations” in a statement announcing his departure in 2018.
Zinke closed his campaign account in 2019, but he was a prodigious fundraiser during his first stint in Congress. He raised more than $5.5 million in his successful bid for reelection in 2016.
Zinke’s filing indicates he plans to run for Montana’s 2nd Congressional District, a seat that does not yet exist on paper. The Census Bureau earlier this week said Montana had grown by a sufficient amount to qualify for a second district, which the state had lost after the 1990 census and reapportionment cycle.
A commission must still draw district boundary lines, but most observers believe they will come up with a solidly Republican district and a more competitive district where Democrats could compete.
Zinke would likely negotiate with Rep. Matt Rosendale (R), first elected just six months ago, about which of the two Republicans would run in which district.