Gustafson, Rice fend off challenges in Supreme Court races
Justice Ingrid Gustafson and Justice Jim Rice both won re-election as Montana Supreme Court justices Tuesday.
Justice Gustafson held off challenger Helena attorney James Brown by an 8-point margin in a hotly contested campaign that shattered records for outside spending in a Montana Supreme Court race. The Montana Free Press reported that the two candidates received $2.9 million in third party spending in October alone. The previous record for a Supreme Court race was the $1 million that outside groups spent in the 2016 race between Justice Dirk Sandefur and his challenger, current Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras.
In the other Supreme Court contest, by contrast, Justice Rice outpolled challenger Billings Bill D’Alton, who intentionally raised no money for his campaign, by a 56-point margin.
Justice Rice was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2001 by Gov. Judy Martz. He was retained in 2002 and 2006 and won re-election over W. David Herbert in 2014.
Justice Gustafson was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2017 by Gov. Steve Bullock. She previously served for 14 years as a judge in Montana’s 13th Judicial District, in Yellowstone County.