Scott Clem has more to celebrate than just his victory in the race for State House District 31.
On election eve Monday, Clem spent most of the night with his wife at Campbell County Memorial Hospital awaiting the arrival of their fourth child, but the wait was prolonged until after the election results came in late Tuesday.
Clem, 30, R-Gillette, received 1,577 votes to Democrat Billy Montgomery’s 425, or about 74 percent of the vote, in the only contested local race for a seat in the Legislature, ensuring another completely Republican delegation from Campbell County.
“I thought it was going to be a lot closer than that,” he said. “That was a surprise to me that I won by that big of a margin. It shows the people have confidence in my campaign. I was very forward with my ideas and my opinions and where I stood. I can tell the message I was giving out really resonates with a lot of folks.”
Clem said he wants to focus on being an advocate for the energy industry and working with the Legislature to move a bill for the transfer of public lands into the forefront. He said he knows he has big shoes to fill, taking the place of Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau.
“(Lubnau) has represented this district well and this community and this town and we’re losing something special,” he said. “He’s a great resource and I’ll undoubtedly be using him. I know Billy Montgomery, and my hat is off to him and to Brenda Schladweiler from the primary election.”
For Montgomery, 62, the loss showed the overwhelming Republican disposition of Campbell County — a fact he said is disappointing because he said some people will look only at the affiliated party.
“I’m just a little bit sad I didn’t get more votes than I got,” Montgomery said. “I’m a little disappointed that people will look at the letter beside the name without actually taking a look at the individual. But that’s how it goes in Campbell County.”
Montgomery said he will continue with the programs he has volunteered with. He also said he hopes the state will focus on getting health care to those who need it.
“I hope they come up with some type of health care for the 17,000 low-income people that don’t have health insurance right now,” he said. “We as a people should take care of one another like that.”
Clem, whose wife is technically due Nov. 12 but is expecting to give birth any day, said he is ready to jump in and start to serve the community.
“I just really want to express my gratitude to the voters and to this county and city that’s given me so much,” Clem said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to give back and serve. I wholeheartedly believe that a leader is a servant, and I want to be the best servant I can be for Campbell County and for Gillette.”