Montana Free Press

Election 2024 Guide

Montana's candidates for state and federal office.

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Last update: Jul 9, 2024
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Kyle Austin
Montana Republican candidate
for U.S. House District 2 (East)

Kyle Austin

Billings pharmacist

Active candidates for U.S. House District 2 (East)

General election nominees were selected via the June 4, 2024, primary election.

Republican

Austin, 42 as of Election Day, owns Billings pharmacy Pharm406. He says he grew up on a farm west of Havre, was educated at the University of Montana and has practiced pharmacy in the state for 15 years.

Austin previously made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2022, failing to advance beyond the eastern district Republican primary.

He says his campaign this year is focused on restoring integrity to government.

“I am running for this office to get our government back on track, rebuild trust, earn respect, restore honor and unite our government so we can once again get back to business,” he said.

This biography is based on material Austin provided to MTFP as well as prior MTFP coverage of his 2022 campaign.

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ON THE ISSUES

Answers here were solicited from candidates via a written questionnaire conducted by MTFP in April 2024. Responses were limited to 1,000 characters and edited lightly for punctuation and spelling. Candidates were asked to focus on the positives their service would bring the state instead of making rhetorical attacks on their opponents. Responses have not been exhaustively fact-checked.

What do you regard as the biggest issue Montana is facing that Congress is in a position to address? How would you address it if elected or re-elected?
Kyle Austin:

The biggest issues facing Congress is how to reduce government spending while reduce the national debt while balancing the budget at the same time. I would address this by stopping unnecessary spending and consolidation our government resources to be more efficient and productive.

Compare to competing candidates
Can you name a current member of Congress you admire? What do respect about them?
Kyle Austin:

None! Montanans need to break the cycle and elect new leadership.

Compare to competing candidates
If President Joe Biden is re-elected, how would you want to work with his administration as a congressman?
Kyle Austin:

I would work with the Biden Administration to get our country back on track, reduce our government spending, improve our national security and bring industry back to our country to create jobs for Americans.

Compare to competing candidates
Similarly, if former President Donald Trump is elected, how would you want to work with him?
Kyle Austin:

I would work with the Trump Administration to get our country back on track, reduce our government spending, improve our national security and bring industry back to our country to create jobs for Americans.

Compare to competing candidates
Do you regard reining in the federal deficit as a priority? If so, in what budget areas would you support spending cuts or tax increases?
Kyle Austin:

Yes, the federal deficit is a priority. We need to stop giving money away to other countries and stop spending money on illegal immigrants. We need to make our government more efficient by consolidating resources and eliminating waste. We will pay down our deficit and after our deficit is reduced, I would support tax cuts for everyone.

Compare to competing candidates
Would you support federal legislation that either restricts abortion access or guarantees access on a national basis? With what conditions?
Kyle Austin:

Abortion access should be a decision of the states.

Compare to competing candidates
What if anything should Congress do to ensure Montanans have access to affordable housing?
Kyle Austin:

Affordable housing should be left to the state and local governments. However at a federal level, I would support efforts to prevent the DEQ, EPA, etc., from creating red tape that creates additional expenses to housing development. I would also support logging efforts and competitive industry to drive down the cost of construction materials.

Compare to competing candidates
To what extent do you see climate change as an urgent issue? What if any action should Congress take to address it?
Kyle Austin:

I do believe climate change is real and happening. America need to be good stewards of our planet to maintain homeostasis for future generations. America should keep working on a lower carbon foot print, improve fuel efficiency, decrease waste and have discussions with world leaders about appropriate population levels.

Compare to competing candidates
What if any action should Congress take to change how the nation controls movement across the U.S.-Mexico border?
Kyle Austin:

The United States needs to finish building the wall to help control immigration. However the United States must pressure the government of Mexico to assist in preventing immigration and drug trafficking as well.

Compare to competing candidates
The cost of health care is a concern for many Montanans. What if any federal action would you support to improve the U.S. health care system?
Kyle Austin:

I would consolidate the health care system into the “United States Health Plan Corporation.” Doing so will eliminate government waste, improve provider payments, lower the cost of insurance for everyone and increase medical access to United States citizens.

Compare to competing candidates

MTFP COVERAGE OF Austin

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Based on reporting required by the U.S. Federal Election Commission. See individual candidate committee pages on the FEC website or the FEC race summary page for more information.
Candidate
Raised
Spent
Remaining
Troy Downing (R)
$1.8M
$1.4M
$435k
Elsie Arntzen (R)
$871k
$805k
$66k
Denny Rehberg (R)
$602k
$454k
$148k
Ed Walker (R)
thru 2024-05-15
$114k
$89k
$25k
Steve Held (D)
thru 2024-05-15
$87k
$68k
$19k
Joel Krautter (R)
$77k
$67k
$9k
Kevin Hamm (D)
$63k
$58k
$5k
Ming Cabrera (D)
thru 2024-05-22
$60k
$41k
$19k
Ken Bogner (R)
$54k
$43k
$11k
Ric Holden (R)
thru 2024-05-15
$49k
$47k
$3k
Stacy Zinn (R)
thru 2024-05-15
$41k
$3k
$38k
Kyle Austin (R)
thru 2024-06-30
$5k
$5k
$550
The FEC summary page may include candidates who did not file for the ballot in this race with the Montana secretary of state. Additionally, some active candidates may not appear on this list because they are not required to file paperwork with the FEC until they raise or spend $5,000 on their campaigns.

Election outcomes

June 4 primary – Republican candidates
CandidateVotesPercentage
TROY DOWNING36,05036.2%
DENNY REHBERG17,07017.1%
STACY ZINN13,47813.5%
ELSIE ARNTZEN9,3949.4%
KEN BOGNER8,9699.0%
RIC HOLDEN7,0637.1%
JOEL G. KRAUTTER3,4093.4%
KYLE AUSTIN3,1383.1%
ED WALKER1,1521.2%
Count reported by Montana secretary of state as of Jun 10, 2024.

COMMON VOTING QUESTIONS

When are Montana’s 2024 elections?

Voters will pick which candidates advance to the November general election in the June primary, which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4. Voters will pick the candidates who will ultimately fill each office on the ballot in the November election, which is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Who runs Montana’s elections?

Montana elections are administered at the county level. The process is overseen by county clerks and election administrators, who help to train and monitor the volunteer election judges that staff the polls. Ballots are typically processed and counted at central county locations, with the results reported to the Montana secretary of state’s office via a statewide software system called ElectMT.

Once polls close, the secretary of state’s office provides results through its website. The state-level office also provides guidance to local election administrators to ensure compliance with state election laws. Additionally, enforcing compliance with some laws governing political campaigns, particularly those involving campaign finance, falls to a separate office known as the Commissioner of Political Practices.

Do I need to be registered in order to vote?

Yes. If you’re unsure about your registration status, you can check it through the Montana secretary of state's My Voter Page. You can register to vote by stopping by your county election office any time during regular business hours to pick up an application. After you’ve filled it out, you’ll need to get it back to your county election office by mail or in person (the latter option is strongly recommended close to Election Day to ensure your application is received in time). If you do present your application in person, you’ll have to provide a photo ID or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you happen to be applying for a Montana driver’s license or identification card before the election, you can register to vote at the same time.

Can I register to vote on Election Day?

Yes. The state Legislature has sought to enact an earlier registration deadline, but under a March 2024 ruling by the Montana Supreme Court, same-day voter registration remains legal in Montana. Residents can register to vote or update their voter registration at their county’s election office prior to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Does Montana have voter ID requirements?

Yes, you will be required to present identification when voting at the polls. However, under the Montana Supreme Court’s March ruling, changes made to those requirements by the 2021 Legislature remain blocked. The current forms of identification voters can use at the polls are a current Montana driver’s license, state-issued photo ID, tribal or military photo ID, a U.S. passport or a student ID. If you don’t have a photo ID, you can use a utility bill, a bank statement, a voter confirmation card or any other government document that shows your name and address.

Are there situations where I wouldn't be eligible to vote?

According to state law, you can't vote if you'll be under age 18 on Election Day, are not a U.S. citizen, or have lived in Montana less than 30 days. Convicted felons who are currently incarcerated in a penal facility and people whom judges have ruled to be of unsound mind are also ineligible to vote. Otherwise, you're good to go.

Can I vote online?

No, that’s not an option in Montana.

Can I vote by mail?

Yes, you can sign up as an absentee voter by checking a box on your voter registration form. If you’re already registered to vote, you can fill out a separate form and submit it to your county election office.

If you’re registered as an absentee voter, a ballot should be mailed to you a few weeks in advance of each election day. You can make sure your address is current via the My Voter page. County election officials are slated to mail ballots to voters for the June 2024 primary election May 10.

You can return ballots by mail, or drop them off in person at your county’s election office. Either way, the election office must receive your ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to count it.

How do I vote in person?

If you plan to vote at the polls, just be sure you know where your polling location is and head there between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day. You'll need to provide a photo ID and sign the precinct register, at which point you’ll get your ballot and be directed to a voting booth. If you have any technical questions or run into any problems, the election judges at your polling place should be able to help you.

I have a friend or family member who isn't able to drop off his or her mail-in ballot. Can I do it for them?

Yes, you can. The Montana Legislature did make some changes to ballot collection laws in 2021 related to paid ballot collection, those changes have also been blocked by the Montana Supreme Court.

Who should I vote for?

That’s your call, not ours. We hope the information we present on this guide is helpful as you make that decision for yourself, though.

About this project

This guide was produced by the Montana Free Press newsroom with production and web development by Eric Dietrich, editing by Brad Tyer and Nick Ehli and contributions from Arren Kimbel-Sannit, Mara Silvers, Alex Sakariassen, Amanda Eggert and Stephanie Farmer. Questionnaire responses for legislatiive candidates were collected with help from the Montana League of Women Voters, through the league's Vote 411 program. Contact Eric Dietrich with questions, corrections or suggestions at edietrich@montanafreepress.org.

Montana Free Press is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit, reader-supported news organization serving Montana. MTFP's donor base includes supporters from across Montana's political spectrum, including some Montanans who are candidates in this year's election. MTFP's major donors are listed here and a current list of other supporters is available here. MTFP's news judgments are made entirely independently from donor involvement.

This material is available for republication by other media outlets under Montana Free Press' standard distribution terms.