For the first time in more than a decade, Green Party candidates will appear on Montana’s ballots for Congress this fall.
When the state’s candidate filing deadline passed at five o'clock this evening, three Green Party candidates joined the crowded field of Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians seeking Montana seats in the U.S. House and Senate.
Danielle Breck, the coordinator for the Montana Green Party, voted Democrat up until the last election cycle. She says too often, people have to vote between what they consider the better of two evils in a two party system. She says more political parties are needed to more accurately represent Montanans' political beliefs.
"The Democratic Party is not entitled to progressive votes simply because they are the mainstream left wing party," Breck says.
Doug Campbell of Bozeman filed as a Green candidate to challenge incumbent Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte.
In the 2016 presidential election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein won 1.6 percent, nearly 8,000 votes, statewide.
"It’s already disrupting the modern Montana political scene, so it’s going to be an interesting year," says Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton.
Stapelton, a Republican, expects the Green Party to draw votes that could otherwise go to Democrats, in much the same way that the Montana Libertarian party has, in the past, peeled off Republican votes.
Stapleton says Greens on the ballot this year could lead to Republicans supporting and funding Green Party candidates, and Democrats doing the same for Libertarians.
"Politics makes strange bedfellows, and we are smack dab in the middle of a water bed right here in Montana. And I don't think we fully know how this plays out."
Six Democratic candidates are seeking their party’s nomination to challenge Greg Gianforte in November.
Libertarian Party candidates have filed in both the U.S. House and Senate race. Elinor Swanson from Billings is running for the House, and Rick Breckenridge is running for the Senate.
The federal primary election will be held on June 5.