Eric Whitney

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.


Now that Montana's primary elections are over, we're profiling the candidates voters will choose in November to represent Montana in Congress. Today, Greg Gianforte, the Republican who won the special election last year earlier to replace Ryan Zinke, who was appointed Secretary of Interior. 

A report being released today says Montana’s uninsured rate is staying steady at about half of what it was before Medicaid expansion started in 2016. It says just under eight percent of Montanans now lack health insurance.

And, one of the studies outlines what it says are clear benefits to the state as voters and state lawmakers are considering whether to end Medicaid expansion.

Senator Jon Tester today slammed a decision by the U.S. Justice Department to not defend the provision of the Affordable Care Act that guarantees health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

The Democrat called it a, “reckless decision,” and said President Trump’s administration "should be working to lower the price of insurance instead of playing political games."

The winner of the this campaign year’s political tug-of-war inside the Montana Democratic party will be revealed this week when primary voters decide who will represent them against incumbent Congressman Greg Gianforte

Montana Democrats bucked their national counterparts in 2016 when the state picked Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton for the party’s presidential nominee.

Democrats ask for an investigation on the one year anniversary of Congressman Gianforte’s assault of a reporter; we look at the latest campaign fundraising numbers; and a candidate’s past litigation may hurt his changes in the general election. Those stories and more right now on "Campaign Beat."

President Donald Trump signed a banking bill into law Thursday that Montana Senator Jon Tester played key roles in crafting and passing.

The bill rolls back some provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, that was passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis in an effort to prevent something like that from happening again.

The Flathead National Forest has approved 2,600 acres of commercial logging just north of Hungry Horse reservoir.

It's part of the Hungry Lion Resource Management Project, and the Forest Service says about half of the timber sale is within the wildland-urban interface, with the goal of reducing risks to residents and firefighters should a wildfire occur.

After a ten day Congressional break, Senator Jon Tester returns to Washington today. He spent the break mostly on his farm, doing few public appearances or media interviews.

Tester left Washington to a barrage of angry criticism from President Trump, after the Senator released a list of anonymous allegations against Trump's nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Admiral Ronny Jackson. Jackson subsequently withdrew his nomination.

I was granted an interview with Senator Tester Saturday evening.

Congressman Greg Gianforte says some changes to public lands management he’s been pushing for have made it into the draft of the Farm Bill Congress is expected to take up in couple of weeks.

The Farm Bill helps direct the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture.

With just more than a month before the June 5 primary, the five Democrats vying for their party’s nomination to take on Republican incumbent Congressman Greg Gianforte are still gently teasing out what sets them apart from the rest of the field.

The candidates generally repeated their main stumping points at a two-hour forum on Saturday at Columbia Falls High School, organized by the Flathead County Democrats.