Helena, MONTANA – The Montana Farm Bureau Candidate Training Seminar provided 19 prospective elected office candidates the information needed to run a successful campaign. The comprehensive seminar, held February 10-11 in Helena, covered everything from selecting your campaign theme and setting up your campaign structure along with how to manage money and how to win. It was designed for candidates, their spouses, managers and individuals interested in running for a political office.

Facilitator Randy Dwyer, director of advocacy and grassroots for American Farm Bureau Federation led the group in the training, which included a simulation to gain experience in running a campaign and making decisions. The training was developed with input from political consultants and staff from both major political parties. 

Russ Miner is running for House District 19, which encompasses much of Cascade County. “This is the second Montana Farm Bureau Candidate School I’ve attended. My wife and I came to the seminar two years ago when I first considered running for office in 2022. For me, the training has really polished up the finer points of running a campaign and how to react to different situations.”

Josh Senecal, a rancher from Ronan, is considering throwing his hat in the ring for Lake County Commissioner. “I wanted to prepare myself to do the best that I can do campaigning, and have a strong foot forward, be collected in my thoughts, and gain an understanding of how to run a campaign.”

Senecal, who serves as president of Northwest Counties Farm Bureau, explained that it’s essential for farmers and ranchers to serve in public office.” I think a lot of people need to step outside of their comfort zones. They need to think about running for a small office or a big office, and figure out tactics for keeping their ranch or livelihood in order, but still putting themselves forward to be a voice in a political office.”

Attendees at the seminar ranged from House and Senate candidates for the Montana Legislature, county commissioners and sheriff, along with their spouses, campaign managers and treasurers.

“It is important to have good leaders in Montana at local, state and federal levels,” said MFBF Director of State Governmental Affairs Rachel Cone. “By hosting the Candidate Training Seminar, Montana Farm Bureau is proud to help leaders get prepared to run for office and hopefully attain the elected seat they are campaigning for.”