HELENA — Five things to know about Tuesday's Montana primary election:
WALSH'S CHALLENGERS: Democrat John Walsh has the advantages of incumbency and donations following his appointment to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Max Baucus. Former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger's challenge depends on how voters react to his switch from the Republican Party. Wilsall rancher Dirk Adams's challenge depends on his "coal is dead" campaign mantra in a coal-producing state. For the GOP, first-term U.S. Rep. Steve Daines must defeat state Rep. Champ Edmunds and political newcomer Susan Cundiff to move on to November's Senate election.
HOUSE RACE WIDE OPEN: Daines' campaign for Senate led to a scramble to succeed him as Montana's only congressman. Former state Sen. Ryan Zinke of Whitefish has raised the most money. His opponents have targeted his candidacy: State Sen. Elsie Arntzen, state Sen. Matt Rosendale, former state Sen. Corey Stapleton and Helena businessman Drew Turiano. Democrat John Lewis of Helena makes his first run for office after 12 years as a Baucus aide. He faces former Montana House Speaker John Driscoll of Helena, who took no contributions in his campaign.
THE LEGISLATURE: The 2014 election is the first since legislative districts were redrawn after the 2010 U.S. Census. Democrats are pushing hard to win majorities in both legislative chambers by fielding at least one candidate in every race. Republicans are feeling the effects of a rift in last year's legislative session between conservative and moderate factions. Several GOP incumbents face primary challengers, and new political action committees sent mailers attacking each faction's candidates.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER: Commission chairman Bill Gallagher is not seeking re-election after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Four people want his District 5 position on the panel that regulates utilities: Republicans John Campbell of Kalispell, Brad Johnson of East Helena and Derek Skees of Kalispell, and Democrat Galen Hollenbaugh of Helena. Commissioner Travis Kavulla of Great Falls, a Republican, is unopposed in District 1.
SUPREME COURT, DISTRICT JUDGES: The top-two vote-getters in Montana's judicial primaries go on November. That means the primaries won't matter much to Supreme Court justices Jim Rice and Mike Wheat, who face single challengers — W. David Herbert and former Solicitor General Lawrence Van Dyke, respectively. Van Dyke's eligibility to run faces a legal challenge. Nine district judgeships are up for election, including the Billings seat vacated by new U.S. District Judge Susan Watters. Five candidates want that position, including Michael Glen Moses, whom Gov. Steve Bullock appointed to the seat in April.