HELENA — About 226,500 Montana voters had turned in an absentee ballot by noon on Tuesday, according to the latest numbers from the Montana Secretary of State’s Office.
Based on absentee ballot counts voter turnout for the primary is at 30%.
The absentee ballot return rate was about half, with 48% of ballots already turned into election officials, according to the latest numbers from the Secretary of State's Office.
Montanans across the state will be hitting the polls on Tuesday for the 2022 Primary Election, with hundreds of candidates vying for their spot on the November ballot. MTN’s senior political reporters Jonathon Ambarian and Ashley Nerbovig will have their eyes on races for the state’s congressional seats and the Montana Supreme Court.
Western Congressional District Democrats
In Montana’s western congressional district, three candidates are making the case that they’re the best choice to bring the Democratic Party’s message into the general election.
Cora Neumann, Monica Tranel and Tom Winter are all seeking the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District, which covers much of western Montana, including the cities of Kalispell, Missoula, Butte and Bozeman.
Western Congressional District Democrats Republicans
Five Republicans will be on the primary ballot in Montana’s western congressional district, and four of them are based in the Flathead.
Much of the attention in the primary has been on Ryan Zinke, former Montana congressman and U.S. Secretary of the Interior. He’s being challenged by orthopedic surgeon and former state senator Al Olszewski, pastor and small business owner Mary Todd, businessman Mitch Heuer, and government teacher and professor Matt Jette.
Eastern Congressional District Democrats
In the Democratic primary for Montana's eastern congressional district, the candidates are advocate against human trafficking Penny Ronning, rookie progressive Skylar Williams and an unpicked stand-in for state Sen. Mark Sweeney, who died in early May.
Sweeney’s death upended the democratic primary contest. He was the best funded democratic candidate with some of the most experience, having sat two terms in the state legislature.
Eastern Congressional District Republicans
Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale is being challenged by Republicans Kyle Austin, James Boyette and Charles Walking Child.
Rosendale, who has a significant lead in fundraising, was elected as Montana’s only U.S. representative in 2020.
Montana Supreme Court
Two seats on the Montana Supreme Court are up for reelection this year. Both Montana justices James Rice and Ingrid Gustafson are opposed in their races.
Gustafson is facing two opponents, PSC President James Brown and Lewis and Clark District Court Judge Mike McMahon, in her primary contest. Rice is challenged by Billings attorney Bill D'Alton.
Supreme court races are nonpartisan and the two candidates with the most votes will continue through to November’s general election.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with information about absentee voting from the Montana Secretary of State's Office.