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US House candidates to face off in Montana debate | State News

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Three candidates for the new U.S. House district covering central and eastern Montana are scheduled to hold their first debate Saturday night.

First-term Republican Matt Rosendale takes on Democrat Penny Ronning and independent candidate Gary Buchanan.

The hour-long debate will air live from Great Falls on KRTV at 6 p.m. This is the first election since Montana regained a seat in Congress due to population growth recorded in the census.

Rosendale, of Glendive, previously served in the state Legislature, including as Senate Majority Leader, and was later elected state auditor and commissioner of securities and insurance. He mounted a failed bid in 2018 to oust US Senator Jon Tester.

Ronning is a former Billings City Council member, community activist and former business owner. A Democrat has not been elected to a Montana House seat since 1994.

Buchanan, who enjoys the support of two of the state’s largest unions, served as Montana’s first Commerce Department director under former Democratic Gov. Ted Schwinden. He then founded a family investment advisory firm in Billings.

Libertarian candidate Sam Rankin is also on the November ballot but was not invited to the debate because organizers said he did not meet criteria based on fundraising and other factors.

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