With more than 612,000 ballots cast and 81% turnout, this year’s election ranked among the most-voted in Montana history. With the state’s vote tallies officially certified by the Montana Board of Canvassers Nov. 30, here’s how the vote broke down:
The state as a whole went for Republican candidates up and down the ballot, with voters delivering the Montana GOP the most sweeping victory a single party has received in the state in decades.
In the race for governor, more than 328,000 Montanans cast ballots for Republican candidate Greg Gianforte, handing him the governor’s office 54% to 42%. President Donald Trump won the state by a 99,000-vote margin, receiving nearly 344,000 votes. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Steve Daines won more than 333,000 votes to earn re-election over a challenge from term-limited Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.
Even so, hundreds of thousands of Montanans voted for Bullock and other Democratic candidates, including more than 244,000 who voted for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and more than 250,000 who voted for the Democratic candidate for governor, Mike Cooney.
Up and down the ballot, Democrats won majorities in precincts in and around some of Montana’s urban centers: Missoula, Anaconda, Butte, Whitefish, Helena, Bozeman, Livingston, Red Lodge and parts of Billings. Democrats also came out ahead in rural precincts spanning the unincorporated resort town of Big Sky and tribal communities, winning swaths of the Flathead, Blackfeet, Rocky Boy’s, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations.
Republicans won pretty much the rest of the state, including the urban core of Kalispell and most of Montana’s rural stretches, with particularly strong showings across eastern Montana. GOP victories in the governor and presidential contests included central Great Falls precincts that have tilted toward Democrats in the past.
Senate candidate Bullock did win several of those Great Falls precincts, as did Democratic superintendent of public instruction candidate Melissa Romano, making the city’s urban core one of the few places in the state where enough voters split their ballots to push some Democrats to precinct-level wins.
Bullock and Cooney also picked up enough votes to win a single precinct in central Hamilton — by just 7 votes in Cooney’s case. The rest of Ravalli County, where Hamilton is the county seat, voted red by wide margins.
See anything else interesting in these figures? Have a question about this year’s election results that might be worth follow-up reporting? Tell us on social media or contact reporter Eric Dietrich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The preliminary vote count data initially used for this story had at least one error, a precinct in Wheatland County where 0 votes were reported for Gianforte (the governor-elect actually won 290 votes there, according to the county election administrator). This story has been updated with final certified precinct-level election results.