Originally published in the Yellowstone County News Print Edition.
HUNTLEY — Donald J. Trump easily won Montana’s three Electoral College votes on his way to the national presidential win.
National Republican Party officials said their candidate succeeded because he appealed to rural voters and the Silent Majority, who turned out in massive numbers to vote for the political outsider.
The Republican ticket of Trump and running mate Mike Pence won 260,460 votes in the Big Sky State, with Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine totaling 160,838 votes with about 80 percent of Montana votes counted by Wednesday morning.
In remarks on Wednesday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus congratulated President-elect Trump.
Priebus said Americans wanted a “bold new direction” and that Trump’s victory showed Americans wanted to “take the country back into their own hands.”
Republicans also won control of both House and Senate seats. Democrats were in control of the U.S. Congress when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.
“Donald Trump’s candidacy inspired millions of Americans to join his quest to give a voice to those who have long felt silenced,” Priebus said.
U.S. Sen. Steve Daines said, “Congratulations to President-elect Donald Trump on winning Montana and the presidency. Now the hard work really begins as we bring our nation together and move our country forward for hardworking families.”
Incumbent Gov. Steve Bullock fended off a challenge by Greg Gianforte, a Bozeman Republican, in a race that went into Wednesday as vote counting continued. On Wednesday morning, Gianforte conceded the race to Bullock.
In unofficial results from Yellowstone County, Gianforte narrowly edged Bullock with 32,692 votes to Bullocks 32,194 votes.
“I’d like to congratulate Gov. Bullock,” Gianforte said Wednesday morning. “While this is an incredibly close race, the voters of Montana appear to have spoken.”
Gianforte thanked his campaign volunteers and supporters and congratulated Republican candidates Tim Fox, Corey Stapleton, Matt Rosendale, and Elsie Arntzen.
“I knew taking on an incumbent