Former Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Barely Wins Montana GOP House Primary

Former Trump Cabinet Secretary Ryan Zinke narrowly won his Republican primary matchup this week in Montana's 1st Congressional District, CNN reports.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL and Montana state senator, was elected to the House in 2014 and reelected in 2016 before joining the Trump administration as the Interior secretary.

Rep. Matt Rosendale, who holds the state’s lone at-large district seat, chose to run in the newly created 2nd District, which was added after the latest census.

Zinke defeated four primary rivals, including former state Sen. Albert Olszewski and pastor Mary Todd.

Zinke touted himself as a “Constitutional conservative who believes in the vision our forefathers laid out which protects individual liberties, separates powers between the three branches of government and ensures the rights of our states."


Zinke faced criticism from his Republican rivals over whether he was sufficiently supportive of Trump’s effort to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

And he faced questions about whether he actually lives in the state.

Politico reported last month that Zinke and his wife reported a home in Santa Barbara, Calif., as their primary residence on tax forms.

Zinke’s campaign insisted that he lives in Whitefish, Montana and that his wife had inherited the California home from her parents and is the sole owner.


Zinke resigned from the Trump administration in 2018 amid mounting scandals.

Zinke faced ethics probes related to the department’s handling of a Connecticut casino project and whether it redrew the boundaries of a national monument to benefit a state lawmaker.

A government watchdog report finally released this year found that Zinke violated numerous ethics rules by being involved in negotiations over a land development project in Montana and failing to disclose his involvement when he was questioned.


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