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|Montana House of Representatives|
Jore was born and raised in Ronan, Montana and received his associate 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.
Initial returns showed Jore winning the election in Montana House District 12, in 2004, defeating his Democrat 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 Democrat 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, 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."
Next, Jore's opponents appealed the case to the Montana Supreme Court, and with the legislative session soon to begin, on December 28, 2004, that 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 as a legally binding decision: To wit, it's 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 the Democrat, Windham, casting votes on bills, opposition to the court's decision was mounting, and on March 18, 2005, the court finally issued a decision including official "grounds".
Later, though Jore was merely a victim of circumstance in the case, and though he had already paid his own legal fees with help from people in his own local community, people from across the country and the Montana Republican Party, the Montana Supreme Court went further by ordering him to pay his opponents' legal fees. 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.
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 Democrat, Windham, with 56.2% of the vote. With Republicans still 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.
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 ever. 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.
- Unofficial 2006 election results
- Scans of actual, contested 2004 ballots
- Montana Code Annotated, 13-15-206(4)(a)(ii)
- Montana Code Annotated, section 3-2-601
- "Major Supreme Court Rulings May be Void"
- Big Spring v. Jore
- "Ballot dispute leads to travesty of justice", Missoulian, May 5, 2005, accessed June 15, 2006
- "Rick Jore’s Montana Nightmare" by Rick Jore, The American View, accessed June 15, 2006
This article was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, under the GNU license.
- Campaign website
- Constitution Party of Montana web site
- Constitution Party press release
- Rick Jore's Vote-Smart.org bio
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