Tags: Donald Trump | GOP2016 | Trump | Interior | Ryan Zinke | Richard Spencer

Could White Nationalist Fill House Seat Vacated by Trump Interior Pick?

Image: Could White Nationalist Fill House Seat Vacated by Trump Interior Pick?

Outgoing Rep. Ryan Zinke vacates a House seat in Montana. (AP)

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Friday, 30 Dec 2016 08:19 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Is it possible a prominent white nationalist leader could replace Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, who is being tapped as Trump's interior secretary?

From the moment President-elect Trump tapped Rep. Ryan Zinke to be U.S. secretary of the interior earlier this month, there has been talk about white nationalist leader Richard Spencer running to succeed him. Both the Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post have run stories speculating about a bid for Montana’s at-large House seat by Spencer. But insiders in Montana say no way.

“I don’t think it’s [a Spencer campaign] going to happen,” said Bob Brown, former two-term secretary of state, state senate president, and 2004 Republican nominee for governor.

“And for whatever reason, someone out there is stirring the pot about this,” he added.

Montana resident Brown pointed out that “Spencer’s claim to a Montana connection is that one of his parents apparently owns a building here in Whitefish. Beyond that, no one I know has met him.” Brown said the entire scenario is “a semi-hoax, at best.”

Spencer has been in the spotlight recently, mostly for his outrageous views. “Let’s party like’s it 1933!” Spencer declared in a toast at a Washington, D.C., conclave of fellow white nationalists, a reference to the year Hitler became chancellor of Germany. He was also filmed raising his arm and shouting “Hail Trump!” — which led to the president-elect denouncing Spencer and his movement in no uncertain terms.

As for Spencer himself, he's giddy at the prospect of a run. “I’m taking it very seriously,” Spencer told The Huffington Post, referring to his candidacy in the special election to be called once Zinke is confirmed for the Trump Cabinet.

Turning to his state’s election rules and history, Brown, a former Montana elections official, noted that if Zinke is confirmed and resigns from office, the state will hold its first special election for Congress in 47 years.

“State law requires a special election to be held no less than 85 days after a vacancy in Congress is declared and no more than 100 days later,” said Brown. “because of the timing, both major parties will almost surely select nominees by convention. So if Spencer runs as a Republican, that means he will have to compete with three or four established Republicans in a nomination chosen by party activists.”

If Spencer chose to run as an independent, Brown noted he “would have to collect 15,000 signatures on petitions that would have to be certified in a short time order to make the ballot.”

So far, four Republicans are mentioned for nomination to succeed Zinke: software millionaire Greg Gianforte, a favorite of evangelical conservatives who lost the 2016 race for governor; state Sen. Ed Buttrey of Great Falls, criticized for being less-than-solid in opposing Obamacare; state Senate President Scott Sales of Bozeman, a self-described staunch fiscal conservative; state Rep. Daniel Zolnikov of Billings, 29, high-tech entrepreneur and unabashed libertarian; and just-elected state Auditor Matt Rosendale, who lost the 2014 primary to Zinke, and whose campaign featured a well-known TV spot in which he shoots down a government drone.

The early favorite for the Democratic nomination is State Rep. Amanda Curtis, who drew about 40 percent of the vote as her party’s U.S. Senate nominee in 2014.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
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Is it possible a prominent white nationalist leader could replace Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, who is being tapped as Trump's interior secretary?
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2016-19-30
Friday, 30 Dec 2016 08:19 AM
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