Recently, the College Republicans at Montana State University hosted a debate between the four senatorial candidates vying for the Republican nomination: Dr. Al Olszewski, Matt Rosendale, Troy Down and Russ Fagg. They, as well as democratic candidates Sarah Dean and Greg Strandberg are running against the incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester.

The March 22 event started with a prayer led by Grace Berner, a Member of College Republicans. Immediately after followed the pledge of allegiance and a statement given by Joey Chester on behalf of Montana Republican Party Chairwoman Debra Lamm, who was not able to make it. Chester who is the Secretary of College Republicans at MSU, gave some comments before the event saying “we want to educate the public on the different candidates, and really see the fine details about them.” He went on to say that, “most of the candidates are going to have similar views on issues, but we really want those fine details to come out so voters can make an educated decision. We want potential voters on both sides to know what the candidates are about. Being an informed voter is important.”

Those who were not particular fans of the candidates were scattered amongst avid candidate supporters. There were many students and Bozeman residents who had not yet made up their minds and, of course, opposition fact finders who were strictly there to get information.

There were six topics for the night: border security, access to public lands, the economy, healthcare, the military and local issues.

Candidates participated in interviews at some point before or after the debate. Each candidate mentioned they were there to introduce themselves and their positions to some of their potential constituents. “I think it is critically important to expose yourself, and put yourself in a position where you can answer any kind of question that is presented to you,” said Rosendale.

Each candidate thanked the student association for setting up the debate. “This was our first debate, and I thought the College Republicans did an excellent job pulling it off,” said candidate Fagg to conclude the evening. The primary election for the GOP candidate will take place June 5, and midterm elections will take place on Nov. 6.

Republican candidates for Montana's US Senate seat participate in a debate in the SUB ballrooms Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Colter Peterson)