NEWS
03/05/2017 12:53 EST | Updated 03/06/2018 00:12 EST

The Latest: Musician Rob Quist wins Democratic nomination

HELENA, Mont. — The Latest on Montana Democrats' nominating convention for the state's only congressional seat (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

Popular musician Rob Quist has won the Democratic nomination for Montana's special election to fill Ryan Zinke's U.S. House seat.

Party members from across the state selected Quist on Sunday over seven other candidates during a special nominating convention in Helena.

Quist is famous within the state as a bluegrass, country and rock singer and guitarist with the Mission Mountain Wood Band and with Rob Quist and Great Northern.

This is his first run for political office. His nascent campaign got a big push when former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer endorsed him in January.

Quist says he'd be a coalition-builder in Congress, but that he would staunchly oppose President Donald Trump's plans to cut arts programs to boost military spending.

Republicans will choose their candidate on Monday.

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3:30 p.m.

A fourth and final ballot will decide who will represent Democrats in capturing the vacant U.S. House seat up for election May 25.

It will either be musician Rob Quist or state Rep. Amanda Curtis. Quist won 72 votes, but he failed to get the necessary majority to win outright.

Curtis won 51 of the third-round votes.

Rep. Kelly McCarthy won 37 votes and won't advance to the decisive round.

Quist is a political novice who has won the backing of former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Curtis is seeking to be only the second woman to represent Montana in the U.S. Congress.

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3:15 p.m.

Entertainer Rob Quist is proving his strength in capturing the right to represent Democrats in the May 25 special election to fill the state's vacant congressional seat.

Quist won 62 votes on the second ballot, while state Rep. Amanda Curtis got 47 votes and Rep. Kelly McCarthy received 42.

Newcomer Dan West withdrew his candidacy after getting just eight votes.

Gary Stein got just one vote and was automatically dropped from the third ballot.

That leaves just three candidates for the third ballot, and the winner should be known after a fourth ballot, if needed.

A candidate must get more than half of the votes cast by the roughly 600 delegates to advance to the special election.

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2:50 p.m.

Political newcomer Rob Quist garnered the most votes among Democratic delegates gathering in Helena to select their nominee for the May 25 special congressional election.

Quist received 57 votes cast by the 158 delegates attending the convention.

Three candidates garnered no votes and will not advance to a second ballot.

Balloting will continue until a nominee collects more than half of the votes cast.

State Rep. Amanda Curtis received 39 votes, while Rep. Kelly McCarthy got 38. Dan West, a former White House aide, got 17 votes, and Gary Stein, another political newcomer, garnered 6.

Link Neimark, Thomas Weida and John Meyer received no votes on the first ballot.

Republicans select their nominee on Monday.

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1:50 p.m.

State Rep. Amanda Curtis sought to persuade Democratic delegates convened in Helena on Sunday that being a woman won't be a barrier in winning the May 25 special election for the state's sole congressional seat.

Curtis is seeking to be only the second woman elected to Congress from the Treasure State.

Montana Republican Jeannette Rankin was the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress.

Last fall, former state Superintendent of Schools Denise Juneau failed in her bid to oust incumbent Rep. Ryan Zinke. Zinke's appointment to lead the U.S. Interior Department created the vacancy up for election in May.

Curtis proclaimed herself the most qualified of the eight candidates seeking support from party delegates.

During her address to delegates, Curtis described herself as an experienced campaigner who would be able to withstand attacks from the eventual Republican nominee.

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1:40 p.m.

Montana Rep. Kelly McCarthy pitched himself to fellow Democrats as an experienced campaigner who is well-versed in policy and national security matters.

McCarthy, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, said Sunday at the party's nominating convention that legislative and national security experience matter in the race for the state's lone congressional seat.

It could have been seen as a jab at fellow candidate Rob Quist, a musician and political novice who is also seeking to represent the Democratic Party in the May 25 special election to fill the U.S. House seat. Delegates will choose a nominee at the convention.

McCarthy says it's vital to have an experienced lawmaker "who can provide a sober voice to balance out the insanity that has become our national security policy."

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12:15 p.m.

Rob Quist, a political novice and well-known musician, made his case to earn the Democratic nomination in the race for Montana's only congressional seat.

Quist noted Sunday at the Democratic nominating convention that he was more accustomed to being in front of a microphone in different kinds of venues.

He said he's travelled the state as an entertainer, but more recently as a candidate for his party's nomination for the May 25 special election to fill the U.S. House seat. Delegates will choose a nominee at the convention.

Quist took the stage to address delegates while wearing a cowboy hat. He's hoping that his folksy charm will help him win support within his party and the state's broader population.

He said, "Stand with me Montana, and I will stand for you."

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10:50 a.m.

Montana Democrats have opened their nominating convention to select a candidate for the May 25 special election to fill the state's only congressional seat.

First to be nominated Sunday was Rob Quist, a well-known entertainer, who is making his first run for office. State Reps. Kelly McCarthy and Rep. Amanda Curtis also were nominated, as well as Dan West, a former aide to President Barack Obama and former Montana Sen. Max Baucus.

In all, eight candidates are expected to be nominated. About 150 delegates will choose a winner from among them.

Former U.S. Rep. Pat Williams, the last Democrat to hold the post, sat in the audience with scores of Democrats who arrived from across the state.

Republicans hold their nominating convention Monday.

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9 a.m.

Democrats from across Montana are gathering in Helena to nominate a candidate for the seat that Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke vacated to lead the U.S. Interior Department.

A special election to fill the state's sole congressional seat is May 25.

Democratic delegates on Sunday will choose from at least eight candidates, including former U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis, state Rep. Kelly McCarthy and musician Rob Quist, who has never held political office.

Republicans hold their nominating convention Monday and will choose from six candidates, including Greg Gianforte, who was his party's nominee for governor in November.

Democrats are already attacking Gianforte, who has asserted that he has the necessary delegates to clinch the GOP nomination.