Posted: Nov 8, 2012 8:46 AM by Jay Kohn
BILLINGS - Governor-elect Steve Bullock will face Republican majorities in both the state House and Senate when he takes office in January as Montana's 24th governor.
Some ballots are still being counted in Ravalli and Yellowstone counties after Tuesday's elections, but it appears the GOP has added one seat to its majority in the state Senate.
Democrats made some inroads into the Republican's majority in the Montana House, picking up anywhere from six to eight seats.
But even with the Democrats gaining ground, the GOP will hold at least a 20-vote advantage in the House, while in the Senate it looks like a 29-21 GOP majority when the 2013 session convenes.
Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann of Billings says as things stand now it appears Republicans were able to pick up two Senate seats in the Billings area, but lost one seat in the Havre area.
Political analyst Dr. Craig Wilson points out that it is really not uncommon for Montanans to split their ticket.
"Montanans seem to like divide and control," said Wilson. "They're distrustful of one party controlling everything."
"In only a minority of cases, has the same party controlled both the governor's office and both houses of the legislature," Wilson added.
It's possible the final tally could alter the outcome in some of the closest legislative races since sine ballots are still being counted.
And if that comes to pass, it's likely the precise majority for Republican lawmakers could be subject to change.