HELENA — The first Democrat to challenge Montana’s only congressman, Republican Matt Rosendale, in the 2022 election has officially kicked off his campaign: Outdoor writer Jack Ballard of Red Lodge.
Ballard, 58, said this week that Congress is moving too slowly to tackle major issues facing the country, such as inadequate wages and unaffordable health care, and that Montana needs someone who is a problem-solver.
“It’s easy to sit in your corner, tossing out insults and tweets, but more challenging to find workable solutions,” he said in a statement. “The country needs people in Washington, D.C., who understand the lives of everyday Americans and will work toward progress, even if there are no perfect solutions.”
Ballard ran briefly for U.S. Senate in 2020, as a Democrat, but withdrew shortly after entering, because of a heart condition.
He said he plans to run in Montana’s new eastern congressional district, whose boundaries have yet to be drawn.
Montana is getting an additional congressional seat in 2022, after three decades of having only one U.S. House member representing the entire state.
It’s assumed that Rosendale, Montana’s current at-large congressman, would run for re-election in the eastern district – which also is likely to lean Republican. Rosendale first won election to the statewide seat in 2020.
Ballard has written 13 books, focusing primarily on wildlife and hunting, and has written for national publications on outdoor subjects and agriculture.
Ballard said the federal minimum wage of $7.50 an hour is far too low and that average people are finding it more and more difficult to afford basic necessities, such as housing and health care.
“Quality health care should be available and affordable to every citizen of this country,” he said. “Folks from Broadus and Ashland shouldn’t have to drive to Billings for routine health care.”