Where Montana Voted Red And Blue In 2022, Precinct By Precinct

Submitted by Montana Free Press


The more than 468,000 Montanans who cast ballots in November 2022 by and large leaned Republican — electing two GOP candidates to represent Montana in the U.S. House and handing the GOP a historic supermajority in the state Legislature.

As is typically the case in Montana, though, the state’s political geography is more complex than a simple horizon-to-horizon field of red. In several pockets across the state, voters leaned toward Democrats — or threw a plurality of support behind independent U.S. House candidate Gary Buchanan. Elsewhere, Montanans split their votes in ways that defy simple partisan classification by re-electing incumbent Montana Supreme Court justices, adding digital privacy protections to the state Constitution and rejecting a measure mandating life-sustaining care for newborns with terminal health conditions.

In Montana’s newly drawn first congressional district, which spans western Montana from Bozeman to Libby, Republican Ryan Zinke won a four-point victory over Democratic candidate Monica Tranel.

A “jelly donut” pattern of urban-rural political divides characterized voters’ choices across the western district, with deep-blue Democrat-leaning urban cores surrounded by more sparsely populated Republican-leaning territory. Urban and some suburban precincts in Bozeman, Missoula, Butte, Anaconda, Hamilton, Big Sky and Whitefish skewed Democratic, as did precincts in and around Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. In addition to picking up rural precincts across the district, Republican Zinke won town and city centers in Kalispell, Libby, Deer Lodge and Dillon (one central Dillon precinct, however, reported a 143-143 vote tie).

In the eastern Montana congressional district, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale won an easy 35-point victory against Democrat Penny Ronning and independent challenger Gary Buchanan, who split the vote opposing Rosendale’s re-election. While Rosendale won 57% of the vote overall, Ronning and Buchanan won 20% and 22% respectively — too few votes combined to topple the incumbent.

Rosendale won the vast majority of precincts across the district, including much of the Billings area and all of Great Falls and Havre. Exceptions to Republican dominance in the race were portions of the Rocky Boy’s, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations, as well as urban precincts in Helena, Livingston, Red Lodge and central Billings. Ronning and Buchanan split that left-leaning territory. Ronning picked up narrow margins over Buchanan in downtown Billings and commanding margins in Democrat-leaning tribal communities, while Buchanan won one central Billings precinct and dominant margins in central Helena. In Montana Supreme Court races, incumbent Justice Jim Rice, who trounced opponent Bill D’Alton by 55 percentage points statewide, won handily across the state. The hotly contested race between incumbent Justice Ingrid Gustafson and challenger Jim Brown, who was endorsed by the state Republican Party in the nominally nonpartisan race, produced a more complex picture.

While Brown won most Republican-leaning rural areas, Gustafson picked up precinct-level victories in urban cores across the state, including central Kalispell, Polson, Great Falls, Dillon and Havre precincts that tilted Republican in explicitly partisan U.S. House races. Gustafson also held Brown to narrow margins of victory in many rural precincts. She won by eight percentage points overall.Of the two policy measures on the November ballot, digital privacy initiative Constitutional Amendment 48 also won handily across the state. The other, Legislative Referendum 131, the “Montana Born-Alive Infant Protection Act,” failed by five percentage points. LR-131 won supportive margins in many rural precincts, including some tribal communities, but faced large “no” vote margins in and around Missoula, Butte, Bozeman and Helena.

The measure also lost narrowly in scattered rural precincts. In the only precinct in Treasure County east of Billings, for example, it was voted down by a 16-vote margin, with 201 votes against to 185 votes for.

Montana Ranked 20th For Seasonal Depression

Between shorter days, colder weather and holiday stressors: seasonal depression is starting to settle in – especially in Montana. Our team used search analytics to discover that Montana has the #20-highest rate of seasonal depression in the nation.

Our full report on seasonal depression in each state is available at the link below. It includes detailed information on seasonal affective disorder (SAD), rankings for all 50 states and helpful resources for those who are struggling with seasonal depression.


Key Findings for Montana:

  • Ranks 20th for SAD, Missoula ranks 34th
  • Nationally, 20 million people (1 in 20) suffer from seasonal depression every year.
  • Searches for seasonal depression start in August and peak in late November / early December


Submitted by Emily Lamb

Court Ruling Reinstates The 2022 Wolf Hunting And

Trapping Regulations

Montana’s 2022 wolf regulations passed by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in August will go back in effect immediately after a court ruling in a lawsuit against Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction and lifted a temporary restraining order.

The lawsuit challenges Montana’s wolf management. Two weeks ago the judge in the case issued a temporary restraining order reverting wolf regulations back to the 2020 wolf hunting and trapping season. That temporary restraining order expired Tuesday.

Though the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, the lawsuit is still ongoing.

Wolf hunting season is open across Montana, as defined in the 2022 wolf regulations.  This includes wolf management unit 313, which borders the area north of Yellowstone National Park. The quota in this WMU 313 is six wolves.

Trapping for wolves remains closed in areas with occupied grizzly bear habitat.

Bear activity is still high in many areas as bears prepare to enter their winter dens. Trapping season in occupied grizzly bear habitat will be closed until bear activity decreases or Dec. 31, whichever comes first. FWP staff will assess bear activity on a weekly basis and may open areas to trapping if bear activity decreases.

Wolf hunters and trappers can find many resources about wolves online, including:

Submitted by Montana FWP


Governor Gianforte Lights State Capitol Christmas Tree

Submitted by Brooke Stroyke

Tree Lighting– Photo Courtesy of Brooke Stroyke


Together with First Lady Susan Gianforte and Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras, Governor Greg Gianforte today lit the 2022 State Capitol Christmas tree during a ceremony at the Montana State Capitol.

“There’s no better way to kick off the holiday season than by lighting the Christmas tree in our state capitol. I appreciate all the folks who made it possible for us to continue this special tradition today,” Governor Gianforte said.

Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras opened the ceremony with a welcome message, before a choir from Helena Middle School sang Christmas carols.

The 2022 State Capitol Christmas tree was harvested from the Rancho Deluxe Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) timber sale in coordination with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest Pintler District, Sun Mountain Lumber, Parke Logging, Inc., and the Montana Logging Association. This is the first capitol Christmas tree harvested from a GNA timber sale.

The governor and first lady encourage Montanans to visit the state capitol to see the Christmas tree throughout the month of December.