Judy Martz

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Judy Martz
Judy Martz 2003.jpg
Martz in 2003
22nd Governor of Montana
In office
January 1, 2001 – January 3, 2005
LieutenantKarl Ohs
Preceded byMarc Racicot
Succeeded byBrian Schweitzer
31st Lieutenant Governor of Montana
In office
January 6, 1997 – January 1, 2001
GovernorMarc Racicot
Preceded byDenny Rehberg
Succeeded byKarl Ohs
Personal details
Judith Helen Morstein

(1943-07-28)July 28, 1943
Big Timber, Montana, U.S.
DiedOctober 30, 2017(2017-10-30) (aged 74)
Butte, Montana, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Harry Martz
(m. 1965)
EducationMontana State University, Billings

Judith Helen Martz (née Morstein; July 28, 1943 – October 30, 2017) was an American Republican Party politician, businesswoman, and Olympian speed skater who served as the 22nd governor of Montana from 2001 to 2005. She was the first and only woman to hold the office.[1] She previously served as the 31st Lieutenant Governor of Montana from 1997 to 2001 under the governorship of Marc Racicot.

Early life and education[edit]

Martz was born July 28, 1943, in Big Timber, Montana, as Judith Helen Morstein.[2][3] She graduated from Butte High School in 1961 and attended Eastern Montana College.[4] Martz's father was a miner and rancher, and her mother was, at various times, a cook, liquor-store clerk and motel maid.[5]


Martz was a speed skater at the 1964 Olympics (1500 metres), 1962 Miss Rodeo Montana,[6] and owner and operator, with her husband, Harry, of a garbage disposal service in her hometown of Butte, Montana.[7] She was one of the first two Montana women to appear in the Olympics.[3]

In 1996, Martz became the first female Lieutenant Governor of Montana, elected with Marc Racicot.[8] She served as Lieutenant Governor from 1997 to 2001.[7]

Governor of Montana[edit]

2000 Montana gubernatorial election[edit]

Montana Governor Judy Martz, FEMA Director Michael Brown and Bob Beckley of the Forest Service tour a smokejumper plane in Missoula, Sept. 2003

In the Montana gubernatorial election of 2000, Martz won the Republican primary over conservative activist and University of Montana law professor Rob Natelson 57 percent to 43 percent.[9] She went on to defeat her Democratic opponent, State Auditor Mark O'Keefe, in the general election by a margin of 51 percent to 47 percent.[10] She was Montana's first female governor.[11]

Tenure (2001–2005)[edit]

Upon becoming governor, Martz's first legislative session resulted in the single largest increase in the education budget in Montana history,[12] as well as tax cuts intended to stimulate the stagnant state economy.[12]

Martz was put under a statewide microscope in November 2001 when a 1999 real estate deal between the Martzes and ARCO was uncovered.[3] The Martz family had a ranch that adjoined another large parcel of land that was owned by the ARCO company, at that time ARCO sold that land at an allegedly low value to the Martz family.[7] The state Democratic Party alleged that Martz had assisted ARCO in her position as Lieutenant Governor.[1] However, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices found that the allegations lacked merit.[3]

Also during her term, her chief policy adviser, Shane Hedges, was involved in a drunk driving accident near Marysville, Montana, in August 2001, after which he went to Martz's residence, where she washed his clothes.[13] House Majority Leader Paul Sliter died in the accident.[14] Martz's policy advisor promptly resigned and pleaded guilty to a charge of negligent homicide.[14]

Martz announced that she would not run for re-election as governor in 2004.[1] Martz finished her time in office campaigning for President Bush in Ohio, Arizona, and other swing states, and sparring with incoming Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer over transition of state government.[15]

Later career[edit]

In September 2005 Martz was named chair of Montanans for Judge Roberts, a group supportive of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, and spoke at a rally in support of Roberts.[9] She also sat on the boards of Maternal Life International, University of Montana Western, Big Sky State Games, and TASER International, a company that manufacturers non-lethal electrical shock equipment for law enforcement, the military, and private individuals.[16]

She never ruled out another run for office, saying she would have to pray "long and hard" to make the decision.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Martz and her husband, Harry, were married in 1965.[17] They had two children: Justin and Stacey Jo.[4][17]

In May 2003, Martz was referenced in news for a perceived similarity to the face and hair of a nude bordello dancer sculpted by Seattle artist Kristine Veith, and placed in a new development in downtown Helena.[3] Both Martz and Veith deny the similarity, with Martz stating, possibly partially tongue-in-cheek, "I'm a very modest person, no one would ever see me like that. My husband doesn't ever see me like that".[18]

On November 11, 2014, it was announced that Martz had stage II pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment in Arizona.[19] She died of the disease on October 30, 2017, in Butte, Montana, at the age of 74.[20]

Electoral history[edit]

Montana gubernatorial election, 2000[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Judy Martz 209,135 50.98% -28.18%
Democratic Mark O'Keefe 193,131 47.08% +26.25%
Libertarian Stan Jones 7,926 1.93%
Majority 16,004 3.90% -54.43%
Turnout 410,192
Republican hold Swing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Edward O'Brien (October 30, 2017). "Judy Martz, Montana's First Female Governor, Dies At 74". MTPR. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  2. ^ "Judy Morstein". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Montana's first female governor, Judy Martz, dies at 74". NBC. October 30, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Montana Governor – Biography of Governor Judy Martz". Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  5. ^ Rob Gurwitt (2000). "Judy Martz: Cautious Ambition". www.governing.com. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  6. ^ "Miss Rodeo Montana History". Miss Rodeo Montana, Inc. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "Judy Martz, first female governor of Montana, dies at 74". San Francisco Chronicle. October 30, 2017. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  8. ^ "Montana Governor Judy Martz". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Former Gov. Judy Martz was pioneer but served troubled term". Independent Record. October 30, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  10. ^ "Almanac of American Politics 2004 – Gov. Judy Martz (R) – Montana". National Journal. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  11. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Judy Martz". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Judy Martz on Education". Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  13. ^ McLaughlin, Kathleen. "Hedges crash probe looked at cover-up". The Missoulian. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  14. ^ a b McLaughlin, Kathleen (14 February 2002). "Cover-up was suspected". The Missoulian. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Martz, Schweitzer argue over transition costs". Archived from the original on October 7, 2007.
  16. ^ a b "Ex-Governor Judy Martz at Peace With Lord, Legacy". 17 May 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Former Governor Judy Martz passes away at 74". Big Timber Pioneer. October 30, 2017. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  18. ^ "The Odd Truth". CBS News. September 5, 2003. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  19. ^ Associated Press (11 November 2014). "Former Gov. Martz says she has stage 2 pancreatic cancer". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Former Gov. Judy Martz, Montana's only female governor, dies at 74". KRTV. October 30, 2017. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  21. ^ 2000 Statewide General Canvas – November 7,2000 Archived 2013-05-28 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Montana
Succeeded by