HELENA- The polls have closed and all votes cast have been counted; Republican Greg Gianforte has been chosen to fill Montana’s lone seat in the House.
As the national attention on Montana fades, it’s time to compare this special election to the previous one, and look at voter turnout.
Greg Gianforte won 45 counties in the state, leaving Democrat challenger Rob Quist with 11 counties on his side.
Notably, Gianforte did not win his home of Gallatin County nor did Quist win his home base of Flathead County.
Three counties were close in votes: the tallies for Hill County came in at 2,073 votes for Quist and 2,056 votes for Gianftore; a difference of just 17 votes. Quist won Blaine County by a margin of 109 votes. Park County was also tight between the two major party candidates. Rob Quist won the county by 296 votes.
Gianforte won two counties, Cascade and Lake, where he lost to Gov. Steve Bullock in the 2016 gubernatorial race.
Cascade County saw one of the biggest swings from the 2016 election. Gianforte lost to Bullock there by more than 3,000 votes, but he defeated Quist by more than 2,000.
The Republican also won by a wide margin in Yellowstone County, receiving 10,000 more votes than Quist. He narrowly beat Bullock there, by fewer than 500 votes.
Looking at the 2016 Presidential Election, five counties voted republican that flipped to democrat for the U.S. House Race: Blaine, Hill, Lewis and Clark, Park and Roosevelt counties. Notice some of the counties that flipped were right races for Quist and Gianforte.
Now, moving to the comparison of this past special election with the 2016 U.S. House Race between Republican Incumbent Ryan Zinke and Democrat challenger Denise Juneau.
Four counties that voted democratic and wanted Quist to represent Montana in the special election, voted republican during the 2016 race. Hill, Lewis and Clark, Gallatin and Park Counties chose Ryan Zinke over Denise Juneau.
Despite the unusual timing of the election, turnout was in line with a typical election that doesn’t include a presidential race. 54 percent of registered voters turned in a ballot – far lower than the 74 percent turnout for last year’s presidential election, but very close to the 55 percent in 2014’s general election.
To read more about the special election, click here.