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HELENA — Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton certified the Green Party for the 2018 elections just hours before the deadline for candidates to file for office.

Stapleton said Monday the Green Party had turned in enough signatures to qualify as a political party in Montana. That means the party can place candidates on the ballot in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Party officials sent out an email Monday morning soliciting candidates to file before the 5 p.m. deadline.

Two people filed as candidates in the U.S. Senate race against Democratic incumbent Jon Tester, and one person filed to run against U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte.

Three others filed as candidates in legislative races.

State coordinator Dani Breck says she believes the party can give state voters an option they haven't had.

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