Staff Writer Matthew Klein contributed to this report.

Until the latest round of reapportionment, Montana had a single House seat that was passed between various Republicans over 26 years. Democratic candidates and outside groups spent millions on Montana House candidates since losing the seat in 1996, chasing glimmers of hope following the victories of Gov. Steve Bullock and Sen. Jon Tester. In fact, Montana Democrats came within single digits of victory in the House seat as recently as 2018.

Redistricting gave Democrats new reason for optimism by returning Montana a second House seat, which it last had in 1990. While the new 2nd District is firmly in the GOP column, the western 1st District is less reliably red. In 2020, Montana’s lone congressional district had a Cook PVI of R+11; in 2022, the newly-formed 1st District had a Cook PVI of R+6, while the 2nd District had a PVI of R+16.

The House has been a launching pad for ambitious Republicans for years — including Gov. Greg Gianforte and Sen. Steve Daines — and this year is shaping up to

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