By Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2022

BILLINGS, Mont. — Three candidates for the newly-drawn U.S. House District covering central and eastern Montana are scheduled for their first debate on Saturday night.

First-term incumbent Republican Matt Rosendale faces Democrat Penny Ronning and independent candidate Gary Buchanan.

The one-hour debate will air live from Great Falls on KRTV at 6 p.m. It’s the first election since Montana re-gained a Congressional seat due to population growth recorded in the census.

Rosendale, of Glendive, previously served in the state Legislature including as Senate Majority leader and was later elected State Auditor and Commissioner of Securities and Insurance. He mounted a failed bid in 2018 to unseat U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

Ronning is a former member of the Billings City Council member, community activist and former business owner. A Democrat has not been elected to a Montana House seat since 1994.

Buchanan, who has backing from two of the state’s largest unions, served as the first director of the Montana Department of Commerce under former Democratic Gov. Ted Schwinden. He later founded a family-run investment advisory firm in Billings.

Libertarian candidate Sam Rankin is also on the ballot for November but was not invited to the debate because organizers said he did not meet criteria based on fundraising and other factors.

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