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Gianforte’s entry shakes up Montana GOP governor’s primary

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Rep. Gianforte, who is serving his second term in Congress, launched his campaign for Montana governor. PHOTO BY DAVID PAUL.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

HELENA — U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte’s decision to run for Montana governor is shaking up next year’s contest for the Republican nomination.

The second-term congressman launched his campaign June 14.

His entry into the crowded GOP primary prompted one candidate to go on the attack and speculation that others may change their plans with the state’s one U.S. House seat now open.

Jack Cutter, the spokesman for one opponent, Attorney General Tim Fox, accused Gianforte of putting his ambitions above his commitments to the state. Gianforte responded that it was unfortunate that Fox is starting the race negatively.

Another candidate, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, says he will make “a big announcement” about his 2020 election plans on Saturday morning. He declined to elaborate.

Drew Zinecker, a spokesman for state Sen. Al Olszewski, says Olszewski will remain in the governor’s race.

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