Ryan Zinke files paperwork to run for new Montana House seat

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Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke filed federal paperwork Thursday to run for Congress in the district that Montana will gain after 2022 as a result of the 2020 census.

Zinke, 59, left the Trump administration at the end of 2018 amid Department of Justice investigations into conflict of interest issues and potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from using their power to influence campaigns. The Interior Department’s inspector general also found that Zinke bringing his wife to travel with him in government vehicles violated department policy.

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Prior to joining the Trump administration, Zinke was the Republican representative of Montana’s at-large congressional district. Before his political career, Zinke was a Navy SEAL for more than two decades, retiring as a commander in 2008.

His filing comes days after the Census Bureau announced Monday that Montana will be one of six states to gain House seats due to the reapportionment process. The state has not yet moved through the redistricting process to divvy the state’s population in two, and it is possible that the newly created district could be competitive for Democrats rather than Republican-leaning.

Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale, a freshman, is the current at-large representative for Montana in the House.

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Points of contact listed on Zinke’s Federal Election Commission filing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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