WHITEFISH — Just over 24 hours after the close of polls on Election Night, the campaign for Republican candidate Ryan Zinke declared victory in the race for Montana’s western congressional district.
Zinke is running against Democrat Monica Tranel.
The campaign released a statement Wednesday evening just after 9:00 p.m. after Decision Desk HQ, a national election forecaster, projected Zinke would defeat Tranel.
The Associated Press also called the race in favor of Zinke at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
After the election forecaster @DecisionDeskHQ projected @RyanZinke the winner in #MT01, Zinke's campaign has declared victory in a press release. "Truth matters, and now it's time to fight for freedom and protect our way of life in Montana,” Zinke is quoted. #MTNews #MTPol— Jonathon Ambarian (@JSAmbarian) November 10, 2022
From the time polls closed on Tuesday evening results were coming in slowly from many of the large counties in the western district and by Wednesday morning, Zinke had a lead over Tranel.
Large updates from Flathead, Missoula and Gallatin counties began to come in around 5 p.m. and Zinke maintained his advantage.
Tranel conceded the race with a Thursday morning concession speech at the University of Montana in Missoula.
During the campaign, Zinke focused on setting himself up as a check on the Biden administration's agenda. He called for dialing back federal spending, expanding energy production and tightening border security.
“As a representative, quite frankly, you represent those that voted for you, and thank you for those that did. But you also represent the people that didn't vote for you, and the people that will never vote for you," Zinke said on Thursday.
"So as part of a representative, it’s to listen and navigate issues that are in the best interests of Montana. And it's going to be a difficult task because our country is kind of falling apart in chunks. But I'm confident that it’s in our measure and merits to fix it and provide leadership," he continued.
Editor's note: This article has been updated after the AP called the race on Thursday.