HELENA — The crowded 2020 race for Montana’s open U.S. House seat got a bit more crowded Wednesday, as two largely unknown candidates entered the contest — a Democrat and a Republican.
Matt Rains, a rancher and Army veteran from Simms, is the Democrat; Tim Johnson, the superintendent of schools in Corvallis, is the Republican.
They joined a field that now has seven declared candidates, including some well-known names in Montana politics.
Montana’s only U.S. House seat is open next year because incumbent Republican Greg Gianforte is running for governor, after only one-and-a-half terms in Congress.
Republicans Joe Dooling, a Helena rancher, state Auditor Matt Rosendale and Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton already are vying for their party’s nomination.
On the Democratic side, Kathleen Williams — who lost to Gianforte by five percentage points last year — and state Rep. Tom Winter of Missoula are competing for the seat as well.
Rains launched his campaign with a two-minute video posted on YouTube, highlighting his ranching and military background.
In a news release, he said he’d be part of a “new generation of leadership” that would address problems like unaffordable health care, a shortage of good-paying jobs and agriculture harmed by new trade policies.
Johnson said on his website that he’d be emphasizing education in his campaign, as well as a return to civility in political discourse.
The primary election to choose the major-party nominees for the seat isn’t until next June.