Penny Ronning, a former Billings city councilwoman, has won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House District 2.
The Associated Press called the race around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday night with 8% of precincts reporting statewide. Both CNN and NBC National News called the race earlier in the evening.
Ronning was leading the race with 61% of the vote. Her top opponent, the late Mark Sweeney, was second in the race with 20%. Sweeney, a sitting state senator from Phillipsburg with roots in Miles City, died suddenly on May 7 of natural causes. At that time, it was too late to remove his name from the ballot.
A third Democratic candidate, Skylar Williams of Billings, had 17%.
The new eastern congressional district includes the cities of Billings, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena, and Miles City. The state gained the second House seat following the 2020 federal census, after 30 years as a single statewide district.
Ronning is facing incumbent Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale in the November general election. Rosendale sailed to an easy primary win against three other candidates Tuesday. Also on the ballot will be Independent candidate, Gary Buchanan, founder of Buchanan Capital in Billings.
Buchanan gathered enough signatures to get his name on the ballot by the May 31 deadline.