Politics

Gianforte Gets First Challenger

John Heenan is a former consumer protection lawyer

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., shown here being sworn in in June, is being challenged by Billings attorney John Heenan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte got his first Democratic challenger for the 2018 midterm election on Monday when attorney John Heenan announced his candidacy.

Heenan said he plans to use his experience as a consumer protection lawyer and focus on access to “quality, affordable health care” in Washington, the Spokesman Review reported

According to his profile page on the Bishop, Heenan & Davies law firm’s page, Heenan says he worked as a truck driver, fork lift operator and teamster intern after graduating from college, “helping him learn the value of hard work and an honest paycheck.”

He began his legal practice by serving as a law clerk for Chief U.S. District Court Judge Richard F. Cebull before going into private practice. He lives with his wife and four children in Billings.

Gianforte gained national attention in May, the day before the special election to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, when he body-slammed a reporter.

Gianforte was later sentenced to undergo anger management and community service but avoided jail time

Despite the national attention for his assault on the reporter, Gianforte won the special election thanks in part to exorbitant amounts of outside spending in the race and that most Montanans had already cast their ballots through early voting before the incident.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Lean Republican.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.