Posted: Nov 8, 2012 11:50 AM by Jay Kohn - MTN News
Updated: Nov 8, 2012 11:53 AM
BILLINGS - When Governor-elect Steve Bullock takes office in January as Montana's 24th governor, he will face Republican majorities in both the state House and Senate.
With some ballots still being counted in Yellowstone Counties, it appears the GOP has added one seat to its majority in the state Senate.
In the Montana House, Democrats made some inroads into the Republican's majority, picking up anywhere from 6 to 8 seats.
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.
Q2 political analyst 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," Wislon said.
With some ballots still being counted, it's possible the final tally could alter the outcome in some of the closest legislative races.
If that comes to pass, it's likely the precise majority for republican lawmakers could be subject to change.