Singer, songwriter and activist Rob Quist has been selected as the Democratic party's nominee to fill the unexpired term of Ryan Zinke, who became Secretary of the Interior last week.

After four ballots, Quist received 57 total votes at the convention in Helena on Sunday afternoon, while Amanda Curtis got 39, with Kelly McCarthy at 38 votes. Missoula schoolteacher Gary Stein received six votes.

Sue Orr, a regular caller and contributor on KGVO's Talk Back show was at the convention and explained why Quist captured the nomination.

"Rob speaks the Montana language," Orr said. "He doesn't have a lot of political experience. But he was on the Montana Arts Council for 20 years and he's traveled around the world as an ambassador for Montana, and one of the things he talked about today was his contacts on behalf of wheat farmers and cattlemen, some very important industries in Montana. He just has the ability to reach out to people that might not trust the regular type of politicians."

Following the vote on Sunday, Quist was asked how he would be able to win the Congressional election in a state that Donald Trump won by over 20 points.

"I've been connecting with Montanans all my life," Quist said. "I think Montanans have a lot of common ground that we stand for, and I would have to say that we agree on nearly 80 percent of the issues. I've already spoken with Republican men's groups and coffee groups and I believe I have their support. This is something that I'm not terribly concerned about. I think the people of Montana will back me."

The Republican Party will have their nominating convention on Monday, also in Helena. Gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte has already released a statement on Quist's selection.

“When Montanans take a hard look at where Rob Quist stands on the issues they will find he supports a national gun registry, a socialized-single-payer health care system and advocates for sanctuary cities in Montana," said Brock Lowrance, Gianforte’s campaign manager. "In Washington, Quist would try and take us back to the same failed policies that voters soundly rejected this last November. Montanans don’t want another lockstep vote for Nancy Pelosi and her California values, but that’s exactly what they would get with Rob Quist in Congress.”

The special election will be held on May 25.

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