Spencer may seek Zinke’s House seat

Ryan Zinke

Ryan Zinke

Richard Spencer, Montana’s most visible white nationalist, is considering a run for the U.S. House seat now held by U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., the Huffington Post reports.

Zinke has been nominated for secretary of the Interior in the Trump administration. If he is confirmed for the job, a special election to replace him probably would be held early next year.

Spencer is from Texas and spends a lot of time in Virginia, but he claims Whitefish as his home. He said he would run only if he thinks he could win, but he noted that his entering the race would draw national attention to him and his movement.

“I’m taking it very seriously,” he told Huffington Post. “It’s an exciting prospect.”

The Huffington Post article points out that Taylor Rose got 47 percent of the vote this year in a Montana House race in Columbia Falls. Rose has been a staff reporter for the conservative World Net Daily and a vice president of Youth for Western Civilization, which has alleged ties to white supremacists.

Rose has said, “Christianity will become the unifying religious force for the Right-Wing movements in Europe and the USA, for the only way to have a true revival of Occidental power both inwardly and outwardly is for the Occident to return to its historical foundations rooted in Christianity.”

According to Huffpost, Jeff Essmann of Billings, chairman of the Montana Republican Party, said a Spencer candidacy would be greeted with skepticism by Montana Republicans.

Meanwhile, it has become uncertain whether Gov. Steve Bullock could appoint someone to fill Zinke’s seat until a special election is held. Intelligent Discontent has noted that a Montana law outlining that procedure appears to violate the U.S. Constitution.

Today’s Billings Gazette reports that the sponsor of the Montana bill, Sen. Brad Hamlett, D-Cascade, thinks his bill will pass constitutional muster. I swear this was in today’s dead-tree edition, but good luck finding it on the Gazette’s Mystery News webpage.

The Gazette’s editorial page today also endorsed Zinke for the Interior job, citing his defense of public lands and hunting and fishing interests, as well as his pro-coal stance. The Gazette failed to mention Zinke’s shifting-sands position on climate change.

Names that have been floated for Zinke’s seat include, on the Democratic side, Denise Juneau, John Lewis, Monica Lindeen and Brian Schweitzer. Possible Republican candidates include Greg Gianforte, Essmann, Brad Johnson, Bob Brown and Daniel Zolnikov.

 

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