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Lake County holds crystal ball during elections

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LAKE COUNTY – Lake County’s election results once again predicted the overall winner of a major election during the May 25 Special Election for Montana’s U.S. House of Representatives seat.

Montana’s overall numbers are at 50 percent for Republican candidate Greg Gianforte to Democrat Rob Quist’s 44 percent and 6 percent for Libertarian Mark Wicks.

The majority of voters in Lake County, 51 percent, picked Gianforte to win with 5,161 votes to Quist’s 43 percent with 4,384 votes. Wick’s picked up 444 votes in the county. 

Montana’s Secretary of State called for the special election to fill the U.S. Representative seat for Montana. The seat was left vacant after Rep. Ryan Zinke was appointed as the Secretary of the Interior in March by the Trump administration.

Montana hit national news twice before the election was over when Gianforte was cited for misdemeanor assault due to an altercation with a reporter and it was also noticed that Lake County is the place to watch for election results.

ABC News reported that data from the Associated Press and the Montana Secretary of State revealed that Lake County pinpointed the winning candidates in 22 out of 26 elections within a two percent margin.

“This unassuming rural Montana area has had nearly perfect accuracy in predicting Montana’s federal and gubernatorial statewide elections over the past two decades,” ABC’s Ryan Struyk states.

The majority doesn’t always go to the Republican Party as it did in the latest election. It was noted that Lake County picked the winning presidential candidate in the 2008 race between former President Barack Obama and John McCain when the overall state vote went to McCain.

In the 2016 Election, Lake County voted for Donald Trump. 

House District 93 in Arlee was the only one to vote for Hillary Clinton, against that countywide trend, and the majority of voters in ARL HD 93 continued to lean towards the left in the 2017 Special Election, 63-33 percent, in favor of Quist. 

The majority vote in the county has not always predicted the winning outcome but it’s failed only twice in the past 20 years. The first time was in 1996 and the second time was in 2008. 

Struyk found that two precincts in the Polson area are good indicators for overall state and county margins. He recommends watching the fifth and seventh precincts. Trump won the fifth precinct by 19 points and Governor Steve Bullock won it by one point. Gianforte won both of those precincts in the 2017 Special Election.


Precincts for Gianforte:

RON 1 HD 93 voted 51-43 (631-537) 

POL 5 HD 12 voted 52-42 (580-467) 

POL 2 HD 12 voted 56-40 (418-297)

POL 1 HD 12 voted 59-36 (361-222)

FER 1 HD 10 voted 60-36 (343-208)

CHA 1 HD 93 voted 56-39 (255-178)

DAY 1 HD 12 voted 62-33 (253-134)

BEA 1 HD 10 voted 52-44 (225-187)

POL 7 HD 93 voted 58-37 (201-131)

POL 6 HD 93 voted 66-26 (112-45)

SWA 1 HD 10 voted 74-20 (59-16)

SWA 2 HD15 voted 69-27 (74-29)

BEA 2 HD 12 voted 57-36 (64-41) 


Precincts for Quist: 

ARL 1 HD 93 voted 63-33 (353-187)

RON 2 HD 15 voted 46-46 (433-432) 

POL 4 HD 12 voted 47-47 (364-361)

STI 1 HD 93 voted 

50-46 (252-231)

STI 2 HD 15 voted 

56-39 (269-189)

POL 3 HD 12 voted 52-43 (210-174)


POL 8 HD15 45-45 (11-11)

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