Montana Democratic Party Releases Process and Procedures for Special Nominating Convention


In a conference call today, the Montana Democratic Party laid out their plan to implement the process to select the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. Please see the statement from Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Andrea Marcoccio below.

Montana law regarding a vacancy after primary and prior to general election can be found here.

Montana Democratic Party rules can be found here.

Process and Procedures for Special Nominating Convention
Andrea Marcoccio, Executive Director
Montana Democratic Party


Thank you all for being on the call today. My name is Andrea Marcoccio. I am the executive director of the Montana Democratic Party.

This afternoon U.S. Senator John Walsh declared he would withdraw his candidacy from the 2014 United States Senate race and will submit an official certificate of resignation to the Secretary of State as soon as possible. Montana Democratic Party Chair Jim Larson issued a statement earlier today.

Senator John Walsh will continue to serve as our United States Senator for the remainder of his appointed term. Any and all questions regarding U.S. Senator John Walsh can be director to his office.

Upon learning of the Senator’s decision I reached out to the Montana Secretary of State for a full briefing on the administrative rules around filling a vacancy for statewide office after a primary. After receiving this information, I submitted both our current Party rules and the Secretary of State administrative rules to our legal council for review.

In compliance with the Secretary of State administrative rules and state law, the rules of the Montana Democratic Party and the advice of our council, we have created a plan to implement the process to select the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. The Montana Democratic Party’s plan will ensure an open and transparent process allowing for all Montanans, voters and press to have up-to-date information about the process.

At this time, I would like to go over the key points of the Secretary of State’s administrative rules and state law.

Under Montana law, the Democratic Party’s state central committee is tasked with appointing the nominee as laid our in our party rules.

In addition, the law also states that the vacancy must be filled no later than 76 days before the election.

If there are any questions regarding the Secretary of State’s administrative rules or state law, please direct those questions to the Secretary of State.

In order to ensure compliance, openness and transparency in the selection process of the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, I’d like to share a brief outline of the Montana Democratic Party’s rules and process.

The State Central Committee, as defined in the Montana Democratic Party Rules will nominate and select a candidate to be chosen at a special nominating convention to address the vacancy.

The State Central Committee consists of the following voting members: one chair and one vice chair from each existing county central committee; one state committeeman and one state committeewoman from each county central committee; all voting members of the State Party Executive Board; the president of each chartered organization of the Montana Democratic Party; and Democrats currently holding the positions of Lieutenant Governor, Clerk of the Supreme Court or Public Service Commissioner.

To clarify, the State Party Executive Board includes, among others, Montana State House leadership, and Montana State Senate leaders, and all Democrats currently holding statewide or federal office.

For all intents and purposes the State Central Committee’s voting delegates are our search and nominating committee.

As such, all questions about potential nominees should be directed to voting delegates of the state central committee.

All members of the State Central Committee will be provided with reasonable notice as to the date, time and place of the special nominating convention and all other required information as determined by our rules. We will also inform the general public and press at this time.

While the news of the vacancy is still only a few hours old, we are in the process of solidifying a location for the special nominating convention. We will ensure the convention will be held in a central and accessible location. The location will be determined as soon as possible by the Party’s chair and staff. Once the location of the event is set, the formal and required notice, as outlined in our rules, will be sent to all voting members of the State Central Committee.

Additionally, The Montana Democratic Party has established a special e-mail address for members of the Democratic Party and the public. This e-mail has been established to hear feedback regarding this process and suggestions as to how the Montana Democratic Party can continue to be open, transparent and attentive to the priorities of Democrats across the state. The e-mail address is

As we move forward in the process to select a nominee, I also want to update you on what Montana Democrats will continue to do to ensure success for Democrats up and down the ballot. Year after year, Montana Democrats have executed a winning plan that differs from the efforts of our Republican counterparts: a massive grassroots effort led by Montanans to talk face-to-face to our neighbors about what is at stake this election. 2014 is no different. And we will continue talking to voters about our candidates and the issues facing Montanans from protecting our public lands from being sold off to the highest bidder to making sure women are free to make their own health care decisions and creating good paying-jobs here at home in Big Sky Country 

Further questions about this process can be directed to our communications director, Bryan Watt, who can be reached at If you are not currently on our press distribution list, please e-mail Bryan directly to be added.

Thank you for joining the call.


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