A Scrappy Environmental Attorney Is Looking To Keep Ryan Zinke From Returning To DC

by | Oct 31, 2022 | Politics

Ryan Zinke, the former Montana congressman and Trump-era interior secretary, says he “hates” Washington, D.C., and the so-called “swamp” of bureaucratic insiders. Democrat Monica Tranel wants to do him a favor and keep him from returning to Congress and the nation’s capital next year. AdvertisementTranel, an environmental lawyer and two-time Olympic rower, has run a scrappy campaign for Montana’s new U.S. House seat, slamming her Republican opponent as the face of Trump-era corruption and running numerous advertisements comparing him to a snake. Above all, Tranel, who once ran for state office as a Republican, is pitching herself as someone who would go to bat for residents of the Treasure State instead of the sort of special interests that she says Zinke has “sold out” to. “I’ve asked voters to vote for me the way people voted in Montana when I was growing up. We vote for people, not parties,” she told HuffPost. “I will serve Montana because this is my home and this is who I am. It’s what I’ve spent my life doing. It’s what I know.”The race pits an environmental attorney who has battled the state’s largest utility on behalf of renewable energy firms and climate advocates against Montana’s former at-large U.S. representative and the muscle of the Trump administration’s fossil fuel-centric “energy dominance” agenda. The new House district covers the western part of the state and was created last year to account for population growth in Big Sky Country. It is the first time Montana has had two House seats since 1993.AdvertisementEarly on, Zinke was widely expected to be a shoo-in for the seat, given his credentials in a state that President Donald Trump carried by 16 points in 2020. But he floundered in the August primary, barely edging out a win over Al Olszewski, a former state senator and hard-line conservative who attacked Zinke as a self-serving liberal who “quit” Trump. Limited polling indicates …

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