Candidates lining up for Helena-area legislative seats

Phil Drake

Candidates for several Helena-area legislative offices made it official Thursday, registering on the first day of filing to run, with one race already lacking in elbow room.

There were 81 candidates statewide who filed for office as of 4 p.m. Of those, 12 filed in person at the Secretary of State’s Office. In 2018, 145 candidates filed on opening day, officials said.

As of 5 p.m., the House District 81 race was already crowded as three Democrats entered to run for the seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Mary Caferro, who was termed out of that office.

Ben Kuiper, 27, said he was heavily involved last year with the Helena Citizens Council, and helped with budgeting and general operations. That awoke a passion for community involvement. He is a corporate tax auditor with the Department of Revenue and will fully launch his campaign soon.

Jacob B. Torgerson of Helena, 19, said he has been “burning shoe leather” on the campaign trail. He said he is focusing on child care access and affordable housing. Torgeson, who is gay, said he hopes to repeal the religious freedom restoration act. Democrats criticized the bill by saying it would give people a legal

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