Ryan Zinke, Trump’s former interior secretary, will win the GOP primary in Montana’s 1st district, CNN projects

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL and Montana state senator who was first elected to the House in 2014 and re-elected in 2016 before stepping down to join Trump’s cabinet, seized on an opening created when the results of the 2020 census gave the Treasury State a second congressional district.

Rep. Matt Rosendale, who holds the state’s only district seat, ran for office in the newly created 2nd District, where CNN predicted he would be the Republican nominee, while Zinke campaigned in the 1st District. .

Zinke prevailed over four other primary candidates, including former state senator Albert Olszewski and pastor Mary Todd. He overcame criticism from rivals to his right about whether he was sufficiently supportive of Trump and the former president’s efforts to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

He also had to wonder if he lived in Montana after Politico reported last month that his wife had claimed a home in Santa Barbara, Calif., as her primary residence on tax records and other forms. Zinke’s campaign responded to the report by saying he lives in Whitefish, Montana, and his wife inherited and kept her parents’ former home in California, which she is the sole owner.

Zinke left the Trump administration in 2018 facing multiple ethics investigations, including the Interior Department’s handling of a casino project in Connecticut, if the boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument had been redesigned for the benefit of a state legislator and its compliance with government travel. Strategies.

A government watchdog report released earlier this year found that Zinke violated ethics rules by being involved in negotiations over a land development project in Montana during his tenure and failing to fully disclose his involvement after he been questioned by an ethics officer.
Shortly after the report was released, Zinke tweeted“Only in the corrupt Biden administration is talking to my neighbor a sin. 15 years ago our family created a free and open space for people to enjoy in Whitefish.”

“We are proud of the children’s toboggan park that dozens of children use every weekend and countless locals use for exercise every day,” he wrote.

Zinke’s campaign website calls him “a constitutional conservative who believes in the vision of our ancestors that protects individual liberties, separates powers among the three branches of government, and guarantees the rights of our states.”

Betty K. Park