HELENA (AP) — Montana Republicans are tentatively targeting the first week of February to nominate a candidate for a special election to replace U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke.

Democrats aren’t setting a date, but they are making preparations now to hold a nominating convention within a week of whenever Gov. Steve Bullock calls for a special election.

The timing depends on Zinke’s confirmation as President-elect Trump’s Interior secretary. GOP chairman Jeff Essmann says a best-case scenario is that the U.S. Senate will hold a confirmation hearing and vote by the end of the month.

That would trigger Bullock’s call for a special election to be held between 85 and 100 days later to fill Montana’s House vacancy.

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Essmann and Democratic Party spokeswoman Kristen Cates says it’s important for their parties to nominate a candidate as quickly as possible.

AP Reporter: Matt Volz

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