Republican Rosendale cruising to easy win in eastern U.S. House race

U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale took an early lead in Montana’s Eastern U.S. House District, where the Republican has been heavily favored to win.

With 66.6% of the statewide vote counted by Wednesday morning, Rosendale led with 114,570 votes, 57% of the votes counted so far. 

His three lesser-funded challengers were unevenly splitting what remained. Democrat Penny Ronning had 20% of the vote with 40,570 votes. Independent Gary Buchanan had 22% of the vote with 44,512 votes, and Libertarian Sam Rankin 1% with 2,756 votes.

The 41 counties of the Montana U.S. District 2 have in the past collectively delivered 60% of the vote in congressional elections to the Republican candidate, including Rosendale in 2020 when the state had just one at-large House district. There is no Democratic committee structure in 21 of those 41 counties.

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Democrats have invested very little in the eastern district. Ronning’s total fundraising for the election through Oct. 19 amounted to $157,365, less than a third of what Buchanan raised.

Democratic Congressional candidate Penny Ronning awaits voting returns Tuesday evening at the Elks Club in

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