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GOP conservatives seek closed primary elections

By The Associated Press
Published On: Jun 19 2014 03:40:51 PM MDT
REPUBLICAN GOP
BILLINGS, Mont. -

Montana Republicans will consider a proposal to close future primary elections to non-party members during a three-day convention that begins Thursday in Billings.

Following the June 3 primary, some members of the GOP's conservative wing complained Democrats had crossed party lines to bolster the chances of some moderate Republicans.

Matthew Monforton of Bozeman, Republican candidate for House District 69, wants to limit future Republican primaries to party members only. He says that would ensure "liberal Republicans" don't benefit from outside support.

The proposal comes as moderate and conservative Republicans have maneuvered for dominance over a party that currently holds few statewide offices.

Rep. Rob Cook of Conrad, who prevailed over a more conservative challenger in the primary, says Monforton's proposal is "ludicrous" and threatens to isolate the party from voters.