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HELENA — John Rabenberg, a longtime Republican activist from northeastern Montana, said Monday he will run for chairman of the state Republican Party next month.

Rabenberg, 66, a farmer from Fort Peck, is running with Meagher County Commissioner Jamie Doggett of White Sulphur Springs as vice chairwoman for the state party's top two offices. The state convention will be in Missoula June 27-29.

They are seeking the posts held by state Republican Chairman Ken Miller of Laurel and Vice Chairwoman Billie Love of Bozeman, who won election in 2001. Neither Miller nor Love could be reached for comment on whether the team is seeking re-election.

Miller, a former state senator, has told some Republicans he may run for governor in 2004 if Gov. Judy Martz doesn't seek re-election. He couldn't run for party chairman as a candidate for office.

"Ken has done an excellent job at elevating the exposure of the party chairman and has probably traveled to more communities than any previous chairman," Rabenberg said. "It is my goal to raise the Montana Republican Party to new heights, and that can only happen if we build on the accomplishments of all previous chairmen."

Rabenberg and Doggett said in a joint press release they want to strengthen grassroots activism and bring the party's image in line with Republican core values.

"I want to emphasize that we are a party that cares about each and every Montanan," Rabenberg said. "The difference between Republicans and Democrats is not who cares and who doesn't; the difference in our philosophy of how we solve those problems. But that message has been lost. We will work to bring the party's image in line with our core values of compassion and humility."

A GOP volunteer for nearly three decades, Rabenberg has served for 22 years on the governor's Essential Air Service Task Force and has been chairman of the state Aeronautics Board for two years. He has been chairman of the Fort Peck Dam Interpretative Center Museum for two years.

Doggett also has served on several statewide boards, including the Montana Committee for the Humanities for 12 years.

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