Corey Stapleton

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Corey Stapleton
Secretary of State of Montana
In office
January 2, 2017 – January 4, 2021
GovernorSteve Bullock
Preceded byLinda McCulloch
Succeeded byChristi Jacobsen
Member of the Montana Senate
from the 27th district
In office
January 2001 – January 2009
Preceded byBruce Crippen
Succeeded byGary Branae
Personal details
Born (1967-09-17) September 17, 1967 (age 53)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Terry Stapleton
EducationUnited States Naval Academy (BS)
WebsiteCampaign website

Corey Stapleton (born September 17, 1967) is an American politician and the Secretary of State of Montana. A Republican, he is also a former Montana State Senator[1] who served from 2001 to 2009. He was a candidate for the United States House of Representatives from Montana in the 2020 election, losing the Republican primary to Matt Rosendale.[2]

Early life, education and military service[edit]

Stapleton graduating from Annapolis

Nominated by the Secretary of the Navy, he attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. Serving as battalion adjutant and earning the Most Inspirational Wrestler Award, he entered the United States Naval Academy[3] in Annapolis, Maryland.

Stapleton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering[citation needed]. He served as a Surface Warfare Officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) and the Aegis cruiser USS Hué City (CG-66). He voluntarily resigned his naval commission in 1997 to work in Billings, Montana, as a financial advisor.[4][5]

Montana Senate[edit]

Senate hearing


In 2000 he won a three-way Republican primary and then general election to become the first Generation X-er elected to the Montana Senate.[citation needed] In 2004, he won re-election to a second term, defeating Democrat Chris Daem 57%–43%.[6]


Stapleton was elected Minority Whip[7] in 2006 until term-limited out of office in 2008. He served as Senate Minority Leader[8] in the 2007 legislative session, which ended without a budget compromise between the Democratic-controlled senate and Republican-controlled House.

Stapleton sponsored several pieces of legislation including Otter Creek Coal development (SB409 2003)[9] the attempted creation of a Montana medical school (SB273 2005)[10] the Montana National Guard Relief Act (SB75)[11] and the demand for reorganization and replacement of the Montana Department of Revenue's computer system POINTS (SB271 2003).[12]

Stapleton served as chairman of the Montana Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, and advocated for the party's "Handshake with Montana" plan[13] which he compared to the 1994 Republican Party "Contract with America".[14] Montana Republicans gained the majority of the State House and shared control of the Montana State Senate with the Democratic Party in the 2006 election.[15][16]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Finance and Claims[17]
  • Legislative Audit[18]

Campaigns for higher office[edit]

2012 gubernatorial election[edit]

Stapleton ran for Governor of Montana with former State Senator Bob Keenan as running mate in 2012.[19] He lost to former U.S. Congressman Rick Hill, who won the seven-candidate Republican primary with a plurality of 34% of the vote. Stapleton ranked second with 18% of the vote, sixteen points behind Hill. He won only two counties in the state: Yellowstone (33%) and Treasure (29%).[20][21]

2014 U.S. Senate election[edit]

In early 2013, he decided to run for the U.S. Senate and challenge longtime Democratic incumbent Max Baucus. Stapleton criticized Baucus's record and started a petition to repeal Obamacare.[22] In April 2013, Baucus decided to retire.[23]

2014 U.S. House of Representatives election[edit]

After it became clear that freshman Representative Steve Daines would seek the Senate seat, Stapleton withdrew from the Senate race to instead run for Daines' seat in the House. Stapleton lost the Republican primary to Ryan Zinke.

2020 U.S. House of Representatives election[edit]

On June 15th, 2019 Stapleton announced his 2020 candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. He had initially been a candidate in the crowded 2020 Montana gubernatorial election.[24]

Secretary of State[edit]

In July 2017, Stapleton said that there had been 360 cases of voter fraud in Montana in the 2017 special congressional election.[25][26] When asked to substantiate his claims, Stapleton said that he had been "incorrectly" quoted by the Associated Press and Lee Newspapers.[27]

In October 2018, Stapleton came under scrutiny after it was revealed that a Voter Guide written, published, and mailed by the Montana Secretary of State office had failed to distinguish what changes proposed ballot initiatives would make to existing laws through underlining additions and striking deletions, instead printing the new laws without these distinguishing marks. Stapleton's office awarded the $265,000 contract to print and mail the corrections to all Montana voters to Ultra Graphics, a firm run by former state Republican Party Executive Director Jake Eaton.[28] Stapleton claimed that Eaton's company was awarded the contract because it had submitted the lowest bid. After news reports indicated that a company in Arizona had submitted a bid for less money, Stapleton stated that the Eaton-led firm's bid was the cheapest, because it was the only one able to complete the printing and mailing on time due to being in Montana.[29]

In February 2019, Stapleton was fined $4,000 by Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices for four separate violations of State law in using resources from his State of State office to announce his gubernatorial campaign.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Stapleton married his wife Terry in 1992 in Great Falls. They have four children. Stapleton has served on various community boards including Montana Manufacturing Extension board,[31] Rotary, American Legion, and the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind foundation[32]


  1. ^ "Former GOP state Sen. Corey Stapleton to run for governor in 2012". July 19, 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  2. ^ Michels, Holly K. (January 2, 2019). "Corey Stapleton to announce run for House". Missoulian. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "Western Voters Could be Up for Grabs for Obama and McCain - US News and World Report". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  4. ^ "Financial Advisors in Billings, Montana (59101)". Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  5. ^ Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "MT State Senate 27 Race - Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  7. ^ "Montana Balance of Power Shifts With a Single Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ [2] Archived December 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "New laws left in the wake of the 2005 Legislature". April 26, 2005. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ "Senate gets look at HB2". March 23, 2003. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "Battle looms over budget surplus". July 8, 2006. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  14. ^ [4] Archived August 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Corey Stapleton". The Weekly Standard. February 6, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  17. ^ "Corey Stapleton, Previous Candidate for State Senator District 10, Montana". Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  18. ^ [5][dead link]
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "MT Governor - R Primary Race - Jun 05, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  21. ^ "Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch 2012 Statewide Primary Election Canvass" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 21, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  22. ^ "Obamacare repeal central for GOP primary field - Paige Winfield Cunningham". Politico.Com. May 15, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  23. ^ "Max Baucus Senate Exit May Prompt Free-For-All In 2014". April 24, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  24. ^ Drake, Phil (June 15, 2019). "Stapleton announces run for U.S. House seat". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  25. ^ Calvan, Bobby Caina. "Montana elections chief alleges voter fraud in May balloting". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  26. ^ Michels, Holly K. "State senator demands proof of voter fraud claims from Secretary of State". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  27. ^, HOLLY K. MICHELS. "Secretary of state dings media for 'incorrectly' saying he made claims of voter fraud". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  28. ^ Hanson, Amy Beth (January 2, 2019). "Corey Stapleton announces his 2nd run for Montana governor". AP NEWS. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  29. ^ "Stapleton: Awarding Contract to Friend was Right for Voters". Flathead Beacon. November 13, 2018. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  30. ^, HOLLY K. MICHELS. "Corey Stapleton fined for using state email to announce governor campaign". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  31. ^ "Forward Focus" (PDF). 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  32. ^ "MSDB Express : Montana School for the Deaf and Blind" (PDF). 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Corey Stapleton at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Linda McCulloch
Secretary of State of Montana
Succeeded by
Christi Jacobsen