Confusion reigns over incumbent’s decision to run for SD#29

Photo by mt.gov Senator Jason Priest (R)

Congressman Jason Priest (Rep), incumbent for the SD #29 seat, is leaving his options open in this November’s senate race by keeping his cards close to his chest. While Priest has not filed for the seat as yet, deadline to do so is March 10, he did tell the CCN he was running.

Priest’s two opponents, Joanne Blyton, (Rep) incumbent for HD #59, and David Howard, (Rep) incumbent for HD #60 have both filed for the Senate seat. Priest’s actions have caused confusion in the ranks with neither Blyton nor Howard sure if he will be running.

Blyton told CCN that Priest appears to be “running one day and not the next.”

“I don't know what his plan really is for this next cycle,” she said.

As for Howard, he told CCN, “I am not running against Jason Priest for SD#29! Jason and I spoke and he was unsure! Jason said he would fully support me because of my Conservative leadership and voting record in the House over the last three sessions!”

Howard added, this “is the truth, as I know it.”

In several email responses to the CCN, when Priest was asked if he was running, he answered “yes.”

When told that both Blyton and Howard were running against him, he replied, “Appears that way.”

When Priest was informed of an article relating to Blyton’s filing, Priest answered, “I can’t wait to read the story since she’s never said a word about it to me. My voting record on property rights, free-market health care and energy, and job growth is pretty good so at the very least the voters of Carbon and Stillwater County will get a chance to see contrasting voting records. They’ll have a choice between my conservative leadership and a more timid approach to reforming government.”

As for Blyton response to Priest’s plan to file, she confirmed she’d  run regardless of who had the seat.

“I’m all in,” she said.

SD #29 incorporates Carbon County, Stillwater County and a small portion of Sweet Grass County close to Big Timber. Seth Berglee has filed to run for Blyton’s vacant seat, which is now the new district HD 58 which covers all of Carbon County.