GOP former House speaker Knudsen joins 2020 attorney general race

Posted at 3:48 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 19:35:44-04

HELENA — Former Speaker of the Montana House Austin Knudsen, a Republican from Culbertson, on Monday became the fourth person to enter the 2020 race for attorney general in Montana.

In a statement, Knudsen said that Montanans deserve “strong, principled, conservative leadership” and that he would work with President Donald Trump “to keep our families safe and Montana’s economy going strong.”

Knudsen joins Chief Deputy Attorney General Jon Bennion as the only Republicans in the 2020 race so far, to succeed Attorney General Tim Fox. Fox, also a Republican, is running for governor in 2020.

Two Democrats also have started their 2020 campaigns for attorney general: state Rep. Kim Dudik of Missoula and Raph Graybill of Helena, who is Gov. Steve Bullock’s chief legal counsel.

Knudsen, an attorney, first won election to the House in 2010, defeating Democratic Rep. Julie French in House District 36. He won re-election three times. Term limits ended his tenure in 2018, when he was elected Roosevelt County attorney.

He was speaker of the Montana House for the 2015 and 2017 legislatures.

Knudsen grew up on a family farm and ranch near Bainville, in the northeast corner of the state, earned his undergraduate degree at Montana State University and his law degree from the University of Montana. He and his wife, Christie, have three children.