On Thursday, after waiting on some legislative race results to be finalized following the 2022 midterm election, the Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party Sheila Hogan releases the following statement:
“Montana Democrats went into the 2022 Midterm election clear-eyed. Our candidates worked hard and we significantly outperformed national Democrats and beat back against a bleak national environment. Every odd was stacked in the Republicans’ favor– they had the map, the national environment, the money and the name recognition.
We are proud of the incredible work of our candidates. We had some tough losses and some remarkable wins. Democrats flipped a Trump+14 seat by ten points. Monica Tranel in the Western Congressional District kept Ryan Zinke within less than 4 points in a district he was heavily favored to win.
Our legislators heading to Helena in January are battle-tested advocates who are ready to get to work to build a Montana that’s better for all of us. Montana Democrats will lead—like always—on the issues that actually matter to Montana families: increasing affordable housing and child care, investing in our schools and our health care system, protecting our constitutional rights and making sure billionaires are pulling their fair share.
We hope Republican leadership received the message loud and clear: Montanans do not want Governor Gianforte to buy himself a Supreme Court seat. And Montanans do not want doctors and legislators to insert themselves into their private health care decisions.”
The Republicans needed to flip two seats to win a supermajority. The Democrats went into this election defending six legislative seats that Trump won in 2020.
The legislative maps are over a decade old and have not kept up with significant population shifts. There are districts like HD 65 (Bozeman, Rep. Kelly Kortum) that have enough people for two legislative districts. This type of population squeeze dilutes the voting power of Democrats. Joe Biden won 42% of the two-party vote in 2020. The way the map was drawn a decade ago buried those voters in 30% of legislative districts.
In the 2022 Midterm, Montana Democrats won two districts carried by Trump (HD28 and HD 84) and won a district where Trump tied in 2020 (HD96). The legislative seats that flipped blue to red were all Trump-won districts, with just one exception. We are still awaiting the results in HD15.