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Rick Hill wins Montana GOP governor nod

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Former congressman Rick Hill won the Montana Republican governor primary on Tuesday and will face state Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) in the race to succeed outgoing Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D).

Hill emerged from a crowded field with 34 percent of the vote. His nearest competition was at 18 percent.

Republican governor candidate Rick Hill smiles as he walks through a crowd of his supporters Tuesday night in the Red Lion Hotel in Helena. (AP Photo/Dylan Brown, Independent Record)

Hill was the favorite for much of the race but faced some tough ads towards the end of his campaign targeting his record in Congress and accusing him of supporting tax increases and President Obama’s health care bill.

In the end, it wasn’t enough to swing the race.

The Hill-Bullock matchup is expected to be one of the most competitive governor’s races of 2012, with neither side having much of an early advantage.

Hill served in Congress for two terms from 1997 to 2001 before retiring with vision problems.

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