Ed Buttrey

Medicaid Expansion Author wants Zinke Seat

Great Falls – State Senator Ed Buttrey has told Republicans that he would run for Montana’s lone congressional seat in a Special Election to replace Ryan Zinke.

Mr. Buttrey, 51, was the primary driver of a bill in 2015 to expand Medicaid in Montana. The bill was panned by most Republicans and narrowly passed with moderate Republicans aligning with Democrats to move the legislation to Governor Bullock. The program is expected to cost Montana as much as $250 Million dollars over the next five years.

In a letter to Republican Central Committee members Buttrey wrote:

“I have decided to seek the nomination of our party to take on and ultimately beat the Democratic opponent in the upcoming special election for U.S. Representative. We will need strong leadership to continue the work that Ryan started, and I believe it is critical to nominate someone who, like Ryan, can soundly defeat the Democratic challenger. I have worked closely with Ryan on many issues including veteran’s affairs, and natural resource policy. From these interactions, I know that Ryan and I share the same values and the goal of promoting those Montana values in Washington. I am also confident that my record of providing conservative solutions for Montana will enable me to beat anyone the Democrats decide to nominate.”

Ed Buttrey is the first person to publicly state his intention of seeking the either party’s nomination to replace Congressman Zinke. Last week, Zinke accepted an offer from President-elect Trump to serve as Secretary of Interior.

If confirmed by the United States Senate, Zinke would resign his seat and Governor  Steve Bullock has between 85 and 100 days to call a special election to fill the term.

Rumors about who may run have been swirling in Republican circles since word of Zinke’s nomination came out early last week. Other potential candidates that have been discussed include: State Auditor–elect Matt Rosendale, Secretary of State-elect Corey Stapleton, Bozeman businessman Greg Gianforte, State Senator Scott Sales and Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen.

By: Big Sky Headlines staff