Jun 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Former Trump Interior Sec. Zinke wins House primary

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Photo: Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images

Former Interior Secretary and House member Ryan Zinke on Thursday won the Republican nomination in a newly drawn, GOP-leaning House seat in Montana, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: The win marks something of a political comeback for Zinke, who resigned from the Department of the Interior in 2018 under a cloud of scandal and multiple ethics probes.

  • Even during the campaign, the Interior's inspector general released a report saying Zinke broke conflict-of-interest rules during his time at the department.

Driving the news: Zinke, who was endorsed by former President Trump, defeated four Republican rivals, including former state Sen. Albert Olszewski.

  • Having previously represented Montana's at-large House district, Zinke is poised to return to Congress next year given that Cook Political Report rates the district as R+7.

The backdrop: After enjoying a population surge over the last decade, Montana was given a second House seat in congressional reapportionment following the 2020 census.

  • The seat covers the Western portion of the state, and is more competitive than Rep. Matt Rosendale's (R-Mont.) more sprawling Eastern seat.
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