|Member of the Montana House of Representatives
from the 12th district
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Jeanne Windham|
|Succeeded by||John Fleming|
|Succeeded by||Joey Jayne|
December 21, 1956 |
|Political party||Constitution (2000-present)
|Children||Kari Kay Gilge,
Angie Lee Springer,
Nicole Rae Jore,
Rikke Gail Brown,
Benjamin Dale Jore
Westslope Trout Company
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 . 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.
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, 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, the Supreme Court declared "one or more" Jore votes invalid, handing Windham the election and effectively giving control of the Montana House to the Democrats. 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, and on March 18, 2005, the court finally issued a decision including official grounds.
Jore 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,[when?] Jore has publicly refused to abide by this last court order, but it has never been rescinded. In autumn 2005, his bank accounts were attached, but 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 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.[dead link]
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.
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, thus ending yet another tenure for him in the State House. He attempted 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.
- Unofficial 2006 election results
- Montana Code Annotated, 13-15-206(4)(a)(ii)
- "Major Supreme Court Rulings May be Void"
- Big Spring v. Jore
- "Ballot dispute leads to travesty of justice", Missoulian, May 5, 2005, retrieved June 15, 2006