Ken Miller

HELENA –Former Republican Party chairman and state Sen. Ken Miller of Laurel said Monday he’ll compete for the GOP nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, who may resign as soon as next week.

“I’m not running for Congress because I want a title; I’m running to stand up for life, liberty and property,” he said in a statement.

Miller, 59, is one of several Republicans who’ve said they’ll run or are considering a run for the nomination to compete in a special election to succeed Zinke.

Zinke, a Republican, has been tapped by incoming President Donald Trump to be U.S. Interior secretary. His U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for the post is Tuesday.

Story continues below

If the Senate confirms Zinke shortly after Trump becomes president on Friday, Zinke would resign his U.S. House seat, setting up a special election in Montana sometime this spring.

The Republican, Democratic and Libertarian parties would nominate candidates to run in the special election for the vacant U.S. House seat – Montana’s only House seat.

A spokesman for the Miller campaign said Miller has paid the $1,740 that the state GOP is requiring of any candidate vying for the nomination, which will be decided by party delegates at a state convention, possibly in early February.

Miller’s campaign said he has talked to many of the delegates and “feels confident with the level of support in order to receive the nomination.”

Other Republicans who’ve said they’ll compete for the nomination include state Sens. Ed Buttrey of Great Falls and Scott Sales of Bozeman.

Former gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte also is said to be competing for the nomination, and his supporters have said they believe he has enough delegate support to win.

Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, R-Billings, who had said he was considering pursuing the nomination, told Republican Party officials Saturday that he is dropping out of consideration and throwing his support behind Gianforte.

Reporter: Mike Dennison