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This story has been updated to reflect Morrison's response, which was provided to Lee Newspapers on Tuesday but tied up because of a technical issue.


A poll circulating around the state appears to be testing the waters for a statewide run for former state Auditor John Morrison, a Democrat.

The poll, which mentions the Attorney General and state Supreme Court races, asks voters several questions about Morrison, including how respondents feel about an affair to which he admitted in 2006 while serving as auditor and running in his party's U.S. Senate primary.

A copy of the poll was provided to Lee Newspapers.

The affair, which happened before Morrison was auditor, was with a woman who later married a man who was a defendant in a securities fraud case Morrison's auditor's office pursued. Morrison denied the affair influenced his actions and he brought on an independent counsel, though he said there were additional reasons for that decision.  

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The case resulted with the Kalispell businessman going to federal prison, ordered to pay $1 million to investors he defrauded.

Morrison said Tuesday in an email he put the poll out to gauge interest in a possible run, but has not made any decisions.

"I enjoy my law practice and have been busy this year with some pretty large and complex cases that are accomplishing some good things for Montana and the rest of the country. But people have talked to me about running for office again and I am considering it," Morrison said in the email. "This is just a standard survey to see where we are at out there. … So I may want to get back into public service at some point, but have not yet decided about 2020."

Morrison was state Auditor for two terms, from 2001-2009. He lost the 2006 U.S. Senate primary to now-U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who went on to defeat incumbent Republican former U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns. He is a lawyer in Helena with the firm Morrison, Sherwood, Wilson and Deola.

The poll spins Morrison's affair two different ways, one saying "We couldn't trust Morrison to do the right thing and step aside in that case; how can we trust him now as attorney general?"

The other take the poll offers is presenting the case as an "old, false story invented for political reasons" and saying Morrison handled the case properly.

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