A legislator from Billings is the latest candidate to announce he’ll seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for the U.S. House seat expected to open up when incumbent Ryan Zinke likely will become the next U.S. Interior Secretary.
State Representative Kelly McCarthy made the announcement last night in an email. He said he wanted to get the word out before the start of 2017 Montana Legislature on Monday.
McCarthy is a vice-chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He says the work of crafting a state budget will remain his top priority. "Job 1 is that budget gets sorted out," he says. "We’ve got 4 months every 2 years to get that done in so you really can’t waste that effort."
The Billings Native served in the U-S Air Force from 1985-through 2001, including in the U.S. Intelligence Community. McCarthy served in the 2013 and 2015 sessions and was re-elected in 2016 for upcoming 2017 session.
In his press release, McCarthy says, "My work in the Montana legislature has been aimed at creating opportunity for anyone willing to roll up their sleeves, making sure that our most vulnerable are protected and preserving our state’s incredible beauty. These are values that bind all Montanans and are the values that I will to take to our nation’s capital if the good people of our great state give me the honor of serving them there."
McCarthy is the latest Democrat to express interest in the open U.S. House seat. Other state lawmakers who’ve also announced their intentions are Casey Schreiner of Great Falls and Amanda Curtis of Butte.
Several Republican interested in their party’s nomination, include state lawmakers Ed Buttrey of Great Falls, Scott Sales of Bozeman, and Daniel Zolnikov of Billings. Others include, State District Judge Russell Fagg of Billings, party activist Gary Carlson of Corvallis, Eugene Graf of Bozeman, and state Auditor elect Matt Rosendale.
It’s expected the political parties won’t convene their nomination conventions until after the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2017 and Zinke officially is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Once Zinke resigns it sets in motion the process to chose his successor.