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Kassmier, Snipes Ruiz Seek Re-Election

State Rep. Josh Kassmier, R-Fort Benton, filed for re-election in Helena on Thursday, the first day to declare for the 2020 fall elections. He was the only Hi-Line area lawmaker to declare his candidacy Thursday.

Candidates have until March 9 to file with the Montana Secretary of State’s office.

Josh Kassmier

District 12 Judge Kayde N. Snipes Ruiz filed for a retention election. She was appointed to the judgeship by Gov. Steve Bullock in January 2019. Voters will decide in the Nov. 3 election if she should be retained as judge for Hill, Chouteau and Liberty counties.

District 12 is based in Havre, but Snipes Ruiz hears cases in Chester and Fort Benton.

She cited the success during the past year in creating the e-filing system, joining courts in Kalispell, Missoula and Billings.

Kassmier represents the heavily Republican House District 27, which includes Liberty and Chouteau counties except for Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation; a small area in northern Cascade County; and most of Hill County, except for the Havre and Rocky Boy areas.

Kassmier was elected in 2018. He defeated Darold Hutchinson, winning 54% of the vote in the Republican primary. He went on to easily defeat Democrat Dan Nelson in the fall election with 70 % of the vote.

In Helena, Kassmier is considered a generally conservative member of the GOP caucus.

Conservative interest groups gave him high marks in legislative ratings.

The American Conservative Union gave Kassmier a 78 rating, meaning he voted according the organization’s platform 78% of the time.

Other conservative organizations agree, including the Montana Chamber of Commerce, with an 89 % approval rating and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation at 110%. The latter gave him extra credit for sponsoring Farm Bureau legislation.

More liberal organizations gave him lower rankings: The Audubon Society 0%; Montana Human Rights Network, 8%; Montana Environmental Information Center, 10%; League of Conservation Voters, 13%; and the Montana Public Interest Research Group, 50%.

Abortion and pro-life organizations were not included in the Ballotpedia survey, but Kassmier generally votes pro-life on abortion issues.

Email John Kelleher at (406) 262-7778
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