HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Democrats and Republicans seeking seats in the Montana legislature outlined their philosophical differences as campaign filing season began.
Republicans said they would continue to fight for lower taxes and less government regulation while Democrats said they supported tax fairness that would allow the state to adequately fund education and support health care and other services for the needy.
Republican Representative Greg Hertz of Polson said Thursday that without the Republican majority in the legislature, Montanans would have faced millions of dollars in additional taxes.
House Democratic Leader Jenny Eck said Democrats would take back the Legislature and fight for a balanced, responsible budget.
Lawmakers held a special legislative session in November to address an expected $227 million budget shortfall.
Thursday was the first day Montana political candidates could begin filing for the June primary.
All 100 seats in the state House of Representatives and 25 of 50 state Senate seats are up for election this year.
Voters also will decide whether to re-elect Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte.
Businessman Troy Downing of Big Sky and State Auditor Matt Rosendale are among the Republicans who have said they will challenge Tester.
Several Democratic candidates plan to challenge Gianforte, including Billings attorney John Heenan, former nonprofit director Grant Kier of Missoula and Lynda Moss of Billings.
Registration continues through 5 p.m. on March 12 for the June 5 primary. Candidates can register in person, online or by mail.
(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)