Ryan Zinke

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Ryan Zinke
Member-elect of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's At-large district
Taking office
January 3, 2015
Succeeding Steve Daines
Member of the Montana Senate
from the 2nd district
In office
January 2009 (2009-01) – January 2013 (2013-01)
Preceded by Dan Weinberg
Succeeded by Dee L. Brown
Personal details
Born (1961-11-01) November 1, 1961 (age 53)
Bozeman, Montana
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lolita Hand
Children Wolfgang, Konrad & Jennifer
Residence Whitefish, Montana
Alma mater University of Oregon
National University
University of San Diego
Profession Consulting Firm CEO
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy SeAL United States Navy
Years of service 1985-2008
Rank US-O5 insignia.svg Commander
Unit Naval Special Warfare Development Group.jpg DEVGRU
Awards Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal

Ryan Zinke (born November 1, 1961) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party who served as a member of the Montana State Senate, representing Senate District 2 from 2009 to 2011.[1] He is the Republican congressman-elect for Montana's at-large congressional district having won in the 2014 election.

Military Career[edit]

Zinke served as a U.S. Navy SEAL from 1985 to 2008, retiring at the rank of Commander. During his career as a SEAL, he served as a member of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group from 1990-1993 and again from 1996-1999.[2] He was awarded two Bronze Stars for combat and four Meritorious Service Medals.[3][4]


He received a BS from the University of Oregon, an MBA from National University, and an MS from the University of San Diego.[5]

Political Career[edit]

Zinke served in the Montana Senate from 2009 to 2011, representing Whitefish, Montana.

He was the running mate of Montana gubernatorial candidate Neil Livingstone in the 2012 election.[6] The Livingstone/Zinke ticket finished fifth out of seven in the Republican primary with 12,038 votes (8.8% of the vote).

In July 2012, Zinke created a super PAC to oppose President Barack Obama's re-election. Zinke stated that the PAC would be a conduit to channel special operations forces frustration with the president, as special operations forces operators are limited in terms of their ability to criticize their civilian commanders.[7] Zinke's involvement with the Super PAC he created before it became a leading supporter of his campaign was criticized by Paul S. Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center, who said that kind of action could lead to "the campaign-contribution limits being completely eviscerated." [8]

In spring of 2014, Zinke announced that he was running for Montana's at-large congressional district, held by Republican Steve Daines, who was running for the U.S. Senate.[9] who announced an intention to run for a United States Senate seat. Zinke won the Republican primary with 43,766 votes (33.25%) and faced Democrat John Lewis, a former State Director for U.S. Senator Max Baucus, in the general election.

During a campaign stop Zinke said the United States should focus on the "real enemy," referring to Hillary Clinton as the "Antichrist."[10] He later said his comment was "perhaps a little harsh," but "I had two friends in Benghazi and the truth does matter."[11]

Zinke was elected to congress on November 4, 2014 with 56% of the vote and over 200,000 total votes.


Zinke is married to Lolita (née Hand).[3] They have three children; Jennifer, Wolfgang, and Konrad.


  1. ^ Montana Legislature. "RYAN ZINKE (R)". Retrieved 3 April 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ New York Times (2011). In Bin Laden's Compound, Seals' All-Star Team. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  3. ^ a b GOPAC. "Candidate Spotlight:Ryan Zinke". Retrieved 3 April 2011. [dead link]
  4. ^ Johnson, Charles S. (2008-02-01). "Zinke releases some Navy records on SEAL career; Dems seek more". Mtstandard.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  5. ^ Congress.org. "Sen. Ryan Zinke (R-MT 2nd District)". Retrieved 3 April 2011. [dead link]
  6. ^ Johnson, Charles S. (July 10, 2011). "Livingstone taps Zinke as running mate". Billings Gazette. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Navy Seal Pac". 
  8. ^ "US House candidate Zinke reaps benefits of super PAC he founded". 
  9. ^ "Ryan Zinke Announces Statewide Bus Tour". 30 April 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (September 28, 2014). "House Hopefuls in G.O.P. Seek Rightward Shift". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Mann, Jim (February 3, 2014). "Candidate's comment draws national attention". Daily Inter Lake. 

External links[edit]