BUTTE — There is a third candidate on the ballot for U.S. House in Montana’s western congressional district: John Lamb, a Libertarian. Lamb didn’t meet the criteria for inclusion in Saturday’s MTN congressional debate. However, we did want to give voters the chance to hear from him about his views and the issues that got him into the race.
Lamb says the western district is an area where the Libertarian perspective can resonate with voters. He believes groups like college students and Native American voters are open to another option outside the two major parties.
“I’m not here to take votes from the Democrats or the Republicans; I’m here to give that 60% of Montana that would not maybe vote in this election – give them that third choice,” he said.
Lamb lives on a farm near the town of Norris, where he and his family raise vegetables and livestock. He also owns a greenhouse-building business and a metal recycling business. He says he grew up in Indiana, then moved to Missouri with his wife, before coming to Montana permanently in 2007. This is his second time running for office, after a 2020 campaign for state Senate.
Lamb says his main message is limited government – cutting back spending, reducing the federal government’s role in favor of state and local authority, and supporting individual freedom and choice. He identified the top issues that motivate him include prison reform and police reform, saying he’s been an active advocate for people he believes have been wrongly convicted, and that he wants to end law enforcement’s “qualified immunity” from civil lawsuits.
Asked to describe his biggest differences from Republican candidate Ryan Zinke, Lamb identified his policies on prison and law enforcement, as well as his belief that the country’s borders are “overregulated.”
“I appreciate the federal government’s duty to keep us from foreign invasion – from troops, but not from people migrating back and forth, working, people seeing their family, visiting,” he said. “The restrictions are just too heavy.”
Lamb says he’s most different from Democrat Monica Tranel in abortion policy, where he describes himself as “100% pro-life” from conception. However, he opposed Congress taking action to restrict abortion, saying it should be a state issue.
“I don’t believe the federal government should be involved in the issue at all, so I wouldn’t even approve of a ban from the federal government,” he said.
Lamb says he’s spent only his own money while running and that he’s conducting a “non-monetary campaign” because he felt it wouldn’t be right to ask for money from Montanans. Now, though, he says he’s more optimistic about how he’ll do in the race, and if he could do it over again, he would accept donations to help him spread his message.
“Vote your conscience,” he said. “It shouldn’t be about party – we’re all Americans, we’re all Montanans here.”