HELENA — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Cooney on Friday named a former rival as his running mate: House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner, who ended his own run for governor less than four weeks ago.
Cooney, one of two Democrats vying for Montana’s open governor seat in 2020, introduced Schreiner to a group of cheering supporters at the state Capitol, calling him “someone who will be a voice for the next generation of Montanans.”
Schreiner, 37, of Great Falls, launched his campaign for governor last June, but decided earlier this month to withdraw, saying he couldn’t muster the resources to continue his campaign.
Through the end of last year, the other Democrats in the race – Cooney, the current lieutenant governor, and Missoula businesswoman Whitney Williams – had far outstripped Schreiner in fundraising.
On Friday, Schreiner touted his union-member background – he’s a former teacher – and his status as someone who lives the life of the average Montanan.
“Montana families deserve somebody in Helena who’s willing to fight for them, that understands first-hand their challenges,” he said. “Somebody who understands what it’s like to have student-loan debt, live paycheck to paycheck, have to deal with prescription-drug costs and outstanding medical bills.”
Schreiner and his wife, Teresa, have three young children.
He also touted his work to help the current Democratic administration pass infrastructure funding and expanded Medicaid, and took a shot at the potential Republican nominee this year.
“The people in this room and the people all across the state know what will happen if Greg Gianforte and all the extremist Republican legislators he can buy control the governor’s office,” he said. “They will steal health care from Montanans. They will dismantle our public-education system. … They’ll bust our budget.”
Gianforte, Montana’s U.S. congressman, is one of three Republicans running for governor. The other two are Attorney General Tim Fox and state Sen. Al Olszewski of Kalispell.
Williams said she plans to unveil her running mate on Monday in Helena.