MONTANA - Former Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has claimed victory in the U.S. House of Representatives, District 1 Republican primary election.

Right now, according to the Montana Secretary of State's Office (SOS), almost 1,600 votes separate Zinke from contender Al Olszewski. The SOS has been waiting on hand-counted ballot results from Lincoln County, which were received late Thursday afternoon.

Just before 6 p.m., the Associated Press declared Zinke as the winner.

His office released the following statement:

"Thank you Western Montana for your confidence that America can be fixed and for ignoring the political BS. Thank you also President Trump, Senator Daines, and Governor Gianforte for their complete and total endorsements," Said Zinke. "We have a great team and dedicated volunteers who believe in American values. I look forward to working with Congressman Rosendale on solving the hard issues that face America and the Great State of Montana. One State. Two US Representatives, one fight for freedom."

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