HELENA — Six of the nine candidates for governor have provided a list of five individuals, groups or a combination that have endorsed them.
The Gazette State Bureau had not been running individual endorsements as candidates announced them during their campaigns. As the campaigns draw to a close, the bureau asked them to provide a list to publish now.
Here are the candidates’ endorsements:
-- Attorney General Steve Bullock of Helena, a Democrat, provided a list of more than five endorsements. Here is a sampling: Gov. Brian Schweitzer; Montana AFL-CIO; MEA-MFT; Planned Parenthood; and Montana Conservation Voters.
-- Neil Livingstone, a Helena Republican, listed these endorsements: Glen Swope, president, Montana Federation of Pachyderm Clubs; Rep. Mike Miller, R-Helmville; Gregg Trude, Helena, executive director of Right to Life of Montana; Sen. Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls; and Paul Vallely, major general, retired, U.S. Army.
-- Former state Transportation Director Jim Lynch of Kalispell: He provided these five names -- Julie Peterson, George Ingahm, Rodney Garcia, Chuck Klefner and Mitch Staley. Lynch declined to say where the people were from or what their occupations were.
“I gave you five names without highlighting or establishing a level of importance that would place one endorsement over another,” Lynch said. “They are all equally important. My endorsements cover all of Montana.”
Former state Sen. Ken Miller, R-Laurel, listed these endorsements: Mark Agather, Northwest Montana Patriots Association; Trude; Jeff Laszloffy, president of Montana Family Foundation, Laurel; Duane Mitchell, former owner and founder of Mitchell Oil Service, Sidney; and Kerry White, president of Citizens for Balanced Use.
Former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, R-Billings, provided these endorsements: Nick Wolter, CEO of Billings Clinic , Billings; former U.S. Rep. Ron Marlenee, R-Mont.; Dennis Hicks and George Torp, founders of Montana Alliance for Constitutionalism; and Ron Sexton, former chancellor of Montana State University Billings.
Chouteau County Commissioner Jim O’Hara, a Republican from Fort Benton, cited these endorsements: Kent Wasson, farmer, rancher, entrepreneur, Whitewater; Dave Brown, CEO of Source Giant Springs Water Co., in Great Falls; Jim Taylor, CEO of Taylor’s Family Auto Group, Great Falls; Bruce Hould, farmer and rancher from Malta; and Rick Cook, clerk and recorder in Chouteau County, from Fort Benton.
Three candidates for governor declined to provide a list of endorsements. They were two Republicans, Bob Fanning of Pray and former U.S. Rep. Rick Hill of Helena, and a Democrat Heather Margolis of Helena.
Fanning didn’t send a list, while Margolis, a political newcomer in Montana said she wasn’t seeking endorsements.
Hill declined to provide five individuals or groups that have endorsed him, believing it’s unfair to rank or limit those from the broad range of groups that have endorsed his candidacy, said campaign manager Brock Lowrance. Hill believes all individuals or groups that have endorsed him are equally important, he said.