Montana Politics

Readers Respond: Who’s Running in ’16?

Last week I asked readers to send me their thoughts and tips on who might be on the ticket in 2016. Thank you for everyone who shot me his or her thoughts. The following is a list of likely and/or possible candidates for statewide office. Feel like we missed one? Well,  you can still respond in the comments.


Steve Bullock (Dem)

Governor Steve Bullock

Democratic Governor Steve Bullock is definitely running for Governor. During 2014 he lost his Lt. Governor John Walsh, but gained Angela McLean who has already proved to be a valuable asset. This will be a tough race for Bullock and this time he’ll be front and center, unlike in 2012 when Sen. Jon Tester sucked up most of the oxygen. Lucky for him he’s running against an extreme right-wing legislature and his likely GOP opponents are equally radical in their ideologies.

Greg Gianforte (Rep)

Conservative Gianforte is a possible candidate for Governor. He’s the very wealthy founder of RightNow Technologies and close friends with Senator Steve Daines. He’s also incredibly conservative and thinks the world is 6,000 years old.

Tom Hanel (Rep)

Billings Mayor Tom Hanel is another possible candidate for Governor. He’s got an impressive mustache and was the deciding vote against the Billings NDO. Honestly, he’s more Lt. Governor material.

Tim Fox (Rep)

Attorney General Tim Fox might look at running for Governor if Bullock’s administration implodes. Most likely, he’ll run for a second term as Attorney General and run for Governor in 2020.

Attorney General

Tim Fox

Tim Fox (Rep)

Again, there is a slim chance Fox runs for Governor, but insiders say that it’s much more likely that he sits tight as Attorney General for another term.

Shane Colton (Dem)

Shane is a Billings Democrat whose name has been floated for other offices before. It’s unlikely but possible. He could raise some serious cash, but may want to stay in private practice.

John Edwards (Dem)

Copy and paste the summary under Shane Colton’s name.

Secretary of State

Monica Lindeen (Dem)

Monica Lindeen

Lindeen is currently State Auditor and ran for Congress in 2006. It’s no secret that she has aspirations to run for Governor, but for the time being she’s filed to run for Secretary of State and is raising money. She’s done a good job and people seem to like her on both sides of the state.

Bryce Bennett (Dem)

Representative Bryce Bennett’s name has been thrown around for Secretary of State for a number of years now. He has spent his career fighting to protect every Montanan’s right to vote and is very popular. Will he want to take on Lindeen in a Primary? That’s the real question.

Cliff Larsen (Dem)

Cliff Larsen a legislator from Missoula. He has some powerful progressive friends, but in a race between Bennett and Larsen, it’s more likely Bennett comes out on top.

Scott Sales (Rep)

He’s a TEA Party Republican who believes in nullification. ‘nough said. However, I’d expect another Republican to step up at some point given the GOP’s obsession with curtailing voter rights in Montana.

State Auditor 

Jesse Laslovich (Dem)

Jesse Laslovich

Laslovich has broad support around the state and is a favorite son of the blue-collar counties of Deer Lodge and Silver Bow. He’s served as Chief Counsel in the State Auditor’s office for the last five years and is likely considering a run. And, according to the responses we got, he may be the only one.


Angela McLean (Dem)

Lt Governor Angela McLean

McLean is currently serving as Lt. Governor, but there is a chance she goes her own way and runs for Superintendent of Schools. She’d do a great job, but it would be a huge loss for the Governor.

Amanda Curtis (Dem)

There were rumors that Curtis was going to use her uphill Senate run to up her name recognition for a run for OPI in 2016. However, her Senate run in ’14 may have changed her mind. Time heals all wounds.

Dennis Parman (Dem)

Parman is the Deputy Superintendent of Schools and has voiced some interest in running for the #1 position.

Sandy Welch (Rep)

Welch ran and barely lost to Denise Juneau in 2012. She had filed to raise money for a second run, but some sources say she has changed her mind.

Elsie Arntzen (Rep)

Elsie Arntzen

Arntzen ran a pretty poor congressional campaign in 2014, but everyone knows it was just a weak attempt at priming the pump for a run in 2016. She will likely run for OPI and will be backed by her friends in the gaming industry, which is a bit awkward for someone running for OPI, in my humble opinion.

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