Pharmacist Austin brings medicine, farm background to House primary

Editor’s note: This is one of 12 profiles featuring a candidate in Montana’s Second Congressional House District primary race. The profiles are being published daily over 12 days and in alphabetical order. Each of the candidates were asked the same questions. 

Kyle Austin describes his first campaign for Montana’s eastern U.S. House district as a dry run.

The Havre native was up against at-large Rep. Matt Rosendale in the 2022 Republican primary for a district that hadn’t been on the ballot in 30 years. There was no pretending that Rosendale wasn’t the clear favorite, and Republicans certainly didn’t.

The Republican National Committee broke with its rule of not endorsing candidates in contested primaries and tapped Rosendale as its choice that February, despite Austin and two other Republican candidates registering for the race.

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Rosendale didn’t bother to participate in the primaries that were broadcast on radio and featured the other Republicans marking arguments that didn’t land with voters. Rosendale won more than 75% of the vote. Austin finished second with 12.2% of the vote.

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