HELENA — Missoula attorney Monica Tranel has become the second Democrat to enter the 2022 race for Montana’s new congressional district, officially launching her campaign this week.
Tranel, 55, joins state Rep. Laurie Bishop of Livingston in the Democratic primary for the yet-to-be-drawn district.
At least two other Democrats are considering the contest – former U.S. Senate candidate Cora Neumann of Bozeman and former gubernatorial candidate Whitney Williams of Missoula. Two Republicans also have declared their candidacy: Former U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke of Whitefish and former state Sen. Al Olszewski of Kalispell.
Tranel filed her paperwork as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.
Tranel ran for the state Public Service Commission in the western Montana district last year, losing to Republican Jennifer Fielder by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin.
She is a former Olympic rower and staff attorney for the PSC, and currently has a private practice in Missoula, sometimes representing energy clients.
Tranel grew up on a ranch in eastern Montana and earned her law degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Montana is one of several states getting a new congressional seat, reflecting population trends in the 2020 U.S. Census. A state commission will draw the district’s boundaries later this year.
Montana’s only current U.S. House member, Republican Matt Rosendale, is expected to run for re-election in one of the districts.
This story will be updated.