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HomePoliticsMontana PoliticsBrown, Willoughby, Repke Compete for Open State Auditor's Office

Brown, Willoughby, Repke Compete for Open State Auditor’s Office

This year in Montana, there’s an open seat for the State Auditor’s office as the incumbent, Troy Downing, chose not to run for reelection. The State Auditor, also known as the commissioner of securities and insurance, holds a critical position in regulating these industries and acting as an advocate for Montana consumers.

James Brown, an attorney from Dillon and the president of the Montana Public Service Commission, is one of the Republican candidates vying for the position. Brown, who ran a notable campaign for the Montana Supreme Court in 2022, sees parallels between his current role and the duties of the auditor. He mentioned, “I took a look at that office and looked at my skill set, and I believe I’m a good match and fit to serve in the role of auditor, to play a public protection role and a role to enhance business in Montana.”

On the Republican side, another contender is John Jay Willoughby, the owner of Willoughby Insurance and former owner of Bad Boy Bail Bonds in Helena. Willoughby, who entered the insurance business after a career in law enforcement, emphasizes the need for a thorough examination of insurance practices. He noted, “The current situation for the insurance industry is unlike anything I’ve seen before, particularly with the rate increases they’re asking for.”

Regarding his potential conflict of interest, Willoughby plans to sell his business if elected, ensuring there’s no conflict between his personal interests and the responsibilities of the auditor’s office.

The Democratic candidate, John Repke, is a retired finance executive residing in Whitefish. He has experience dealing with large organizations and advocating for consumer rights. Repke stated, “My experience is that those regulations not only protect the consumers, but they protect the good, honest businessmen.”

It’s worth noting that two other Republican candidates, state Rep. Steve Gunderson of Libby and Keith Brownfield of Miles City, were removed from the ballot due to a campaign finance document issue, as per the Montana Secretary of State’s list of candidates.

Overall, the race for Montana State Auditor reflects a diversity of backgrounds and experiences among the candidates, each bringing their unique perspectives and qualifications to oversee securities, insurance, and consumer advocacy in the state.

By: Montana Newsroom staff

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