U.S. Senate hopeful Troy Downing prepares to be interviewed by Kaitlin Corbett of KBZK CBS local news on election night when vote totals showed Downing stuck in third place.

Downing out

Rosendale wins, will face Tester for U.S. Senate seat

In his third-place finish behind Russ Fagg and winner Matt Rosendale, Troy Downing succeeded in staging the most ambitious political campaign ever mounted by a resident of Big Sky. His personal fortune and time management skills honed in the military and the high-tech industry helped power the campaign—as did Caliber Coffee, situated just down the hill from Downing’s Westfork Meadows residence. On election day, staff at Caliber Coffee noticed when Downing didn’t appear as the first customer of the morning. He’s an early-in-the-door regular; one of his campaign posters hangs by the entrance. In the lead up to Big Sky residents heading to precinct 64B—the only local polling place—Downing and his wife Heather recorded a video out in the sagebrush by their place. The ridge line running above the northern edge of the Meadow is recognizable in the background. To camera, Troy told voters, “We’re making sure we get in front of as many Montanans as we can. It’s been an awesome journey.” Heather stands by Troy’s side throughout the video. On election night, the Downing campaign occupied the Gallatin Room at the newly built SpringHill Suites in Bozeman. Just after 10 p.m., supporters savored a minor surge in the returns that pushed Troy past candidate Al Olszewski, a doctor from Kalispell. Troy held his lead over Al, but ended the night around 14,000 votes shy of second place finisher Russ Fagg. With supporters settling in for a night they knew would end with a disappointing step across the finish line, Downing remained upbeat and smiling resolutely while Kaitlin Corbett with KBZK prepared to interview him. Right before going camera, Downing told the Lookout, “No matter what happens, I’m proud of my campaign. I stayed on message. I ran a positive campaign. I got in front of as many people as I could. Just put in the miles, put in the time, had the conversations.” Thinking back on the race and his morning routines, Downing said, “You know, it’s always made me smile. I think it says a lot when your own community supports you. I go into Caliber every morning and I see the snowplowers and the firefighters and all the construction workers down there and they’ve all been supporters and that makes me smile. When the people who know you are supporting you I think that’s a good message.” Downing notched a solid second place win in his home precinct, beating Fagg with 32 percent of the vote, but still falling to Rosendale among Big Sky voters in Gallatin County by seven points. On election night, Downing wasn’t ready to reveal what’s next for him, saying only, “I’ve got something to give. I’m going to be involved.”

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