Ryan Zinke

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Ryan Zinke
Ryan Zinke official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's At-large district
Assumed office
January 6, 2015
Preceded by Steve Daines
Member of the Montana Senate
from the 2nd district
In office
January 2009 – January 2012
Preceded by Dan Weinberg
Succeeded by Dee Brown
Personal details
Born (1961-11-01) November 1, 1961 (age 53)
Bozeman, Montana, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lolita Hand
Children Wolfgang
Alma mater University of Oregon
National University
University of San Diego
Religion Lutheranism
Awards Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
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

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 2012.[1] He is the Republican congressman 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. In 2004, Zinke was named the Deputy and acting Commander of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula. In this capacity, Zinke led a force of more than 3,500 Special Operations personnel in Iraq. Zinke was awarded two Bronze Stars for combat and four Meritorious Service Medals. Following his tours in Iraq, Zinke was selected to establish the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command where he served as “Dean” of the Naval Special Warfare graduate school until his retirement from active duty in 2008.


Zinke attended the University of Oregon where he was an All Pac-10 lineman for the Oregon Ducks. A standout student-athlete, Zinke earned a BS in geology. Zinke also earned an MBA from National University and an MS from the University of San Diego.[2]

Political career[edit]

Following a 23 year career with the U.S. Navy SEALs, 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.[3] The Livingstone/Zinke ticket finished fifth out of seven in the Republican primary with 12,038 votes (8.8% of the vote).

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2014 election[edit]

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.[4] Zinke won the Republican primary with 43,766 votes (33.25%) and faced, Libertarian Mike Fellows and Democrat John Lewis, a former State Director for U.S. Senator Max Baucus, in the general election.

Zinke campaigned on a message of North American energy independence, a stronger economy, and a robust national defense and border security. Zinke won a 5-way primary election and 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).[5] They have three children; Jennifer, Wolfgang, and Konrad.


  1. ^ Montana Legislature. "RYAN ZINKE (R)". Retrieved 3 April 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ Congress.org. "Sen. Ryan Zinke (R-MT 2nd District)". Retrieved 3 April 2011. [dead link]
  3. ^ Johnson, Charles S. (July 10, 2011). "Livingstone taps Zinke as running mate". Billings Gazette. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Ryan Zinke Announces Statewide Bus Tour". 30 April 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  5. ^ GOPAC. "Candidate Spotlight:Ryan Zinke". Retrieved 3 April 2011. [dead link]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Steve Daines
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's At-large congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Lee Zeldin
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Dan Donovan