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Rick Jore

Member of the Montana House of Representatives
from the 12th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Jeanne Windham
Succeeded by John Fleming
In office
1995 – 2001
Succeeded by Joey Jayne

Born December 21, 1956 (1956-12-21) (age 53)
Ronan, Montana
Political party Constitution (2000-present)
Republican (1994-2000)
Spouse(s) Nancy Jore
Children Kari Kay Gilge,
Angie Lee Springer,
Nicole Rae Jore,
Rikke Gail Brown,
Benjamin Dale Jore
Residence Ronan, Montana
Occupation Owner
Westslope Trout Company
Religion Christian

Rick Jore, a Montana politician and businessman, was a member of the 2006 Montana House of Representatives and chairman of the education committee. Jore was born and raised in Ronan, Montana and received his associates degree from North Idaho College in 1978. He is also the owner of Westslope Trout Company and the vice chairman of the Constitution Party of Montana.

First elected as a Republican in 1994, Jore served three terms in the Montana House of Representatives before switching to the Constitution Party, in March 2000[1]. Jore ran again for the legislature in 2000 and 2002 as a Constitution Party candidate and was narrowly defeated in both attempts. An extremely narrow defeat in 2004, after a recount, was followed by a successful run in 2006, defeating his Democratic opponent 2,210 to 1,725 votes[1].


2004 election

Initial returns showed Jore winning the election in Montana House District 12, in 2004, defeating his Democratic opponent by a margin of only 1 vote in a three-way race. In a legislature divided between 50 Republicans, 49 Democrats, and with a Democratic governor, Jore's alignment was expected to determine the partisan alignment of the state house.

However, given the closeness of the race, an automatic recount by the county election board was initiated, which resulted in the board unanimously calling a tie between Jore and Democrat Jeanne Windham. Windham then filed suit, arguing that seven ballots should not have been counted for Jore[2], but the district court agreed with the county election board on the tie, invoking Montana election law, which states, "If a majority of the counting board members agree that under the rules the voter's intent can be clearly determined, the vote is valid and must be counted according to the voter's intent."[3]

Next, Jore's opponents appealed the case to the State Supreme Court, and with the legislative session soon to begin, on December 28, 2004, the Montana Supreme Court swiftly made a media release, declaring "one or more" Jore votes invalid, handing Windham the election and effectively giving control of the Montana House to the Democrats. At the time, the court failed to publish what is defined by Montana law[4] as a legally binding decision: To wit, its declaration was missing the required "grounds of the decision" by not only failing to list the particular ballots rejected but even failing to give the exact number.

Over two months later, though the legislative session was well under way with Windham casting votes on bills, opposition to the court's decision was mounting[5], and on March 18, 2005, the court finally issued a decision including official "grounds"[6].

Later though he had already paid his own legal fees with help from (1) people in his own local community, (2) people from across the country, and (3) the Montana Republican Party, the Montana supreme court went further by ordering him to pay his opponents' legal fees[7][8]. To this day, Jore has publicly refused to abide by this last court order, though it has never been rescinded. In the autumn of 2005, his bank accounts were raided and drained of funds by government officials, though the sum obtained was small compared to the total amount sought.

2006 election

In the next election, in spite of being a third-party candidate and still being in open violation of the state supreme court order to pay his opponent's legal fees, Jore was elected over the Democratic candidate Jeanne Windham, with 56.2% of the vote. With Republicans controlling the Montana House by a slim margin of 50-49, Jore obtained an unexpected amount of political leverage and was appointed chairman of the House Education Committee[2].

Had the Constitution Party of Montana not disaffiliated from the national Constitution Party a short time before the election, Jore would have been the national Constitution Party's highest elected official. The Montana party's disaffiliation was based on claims that the national party had softened its pro-life stance by failing to disaffiliate another state affiliate, two of whose leaders had publicly contradicted the party's 100%-pro-life plank.

2008 Election

Since Jore had already served in the Montana House as a Republican before his 2006 election as a member of the Constitution Party of Montana, state term-limit laws barred him from running for the Montana House in 2008. He did attempt to qualify an initiative for the ballot, called the Personhood Amendment, but failed to gather enough signatures. As of March 19, 2009, he was still serving as the vice chairman of the Constitution Party of Montana.


  1. ^ Unofficial 2006 election results
  2. ^ Scans of actual, contested 2004 ballots
  3. ^ Montana Code Annotated, 13-15-206(4)(a)(ii)
  4. ^ Montana Code Annotated, section 3-2-601
  5. ^ "Major Supreme Court Rulings May be Void"
  6. ^ Big Spring v. Jore
  7. ^ "Ballot dispute leads to travesty of justice", Missoulian, May 5, 2005, retrieved June 15, 2006
  8. ^ "Rick Jore’s Montana Nightmare" by Rick Jore, The American View, retrieved June 15, 2006

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