Gianforte, Olszewski, Fox

From left, Gianforte, Olszewski and Fox

The Republican primary debate for governor featuring all three candidates will be in Billings in January.

U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, state Attorney General Tim Fox and state Sen. Al Olszewski all confirmed Tuesday they will debate Jan 23 in Billings. It will be the first debate of the primary election featuring all three men.

Olszewski, who represents Kalispell in the Montana Legislature, and Fox had participated in a Thanksgiving-week forum that Gianforte was unable to attend because of holiday plans.

Yellowstone County GOP Chairman Tim Stark told The Billings Gazette he specifically scheduled the Billings debate during Congress’ Martin Luther King Day break so that Gianforte could attend.

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“I started working on this way back before the municipal elections, sent out an invitation in October and we decided on Martin Luther King week because usually Congress is in recess during that week. So Greg should be there,” barring a change of schedule by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Stark said. “I haven’t heard from anybody backing out. We’ve had about 100 people register to attend the debate.”

Stark said everyone is welcome to attend the debate, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday Jan 23. Stark is asking for people to go to the Yellowstone County GOP website to register so he knows how much space to reserve at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.