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John Rogers, who left the Bullock administration this month, endorsed on Friday Billings state Rep. Kelly McCarthy's bid to become the Democrat in the anticipated special election to replace Ryan Zinke.

Rogers was the chief business development officer in the governor's office.

In a prepared statement sent out by McCarthy's team, Rogers highlighted McCarthy's military service and said McCarthy has proven "he is committed to growing an economy that is built on the strength of thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs working to create a bright outlook for our state and to bring jobs to our local communities."

John Rogers

John Rogers formerly served Gov. Steve Bullock as chief business officer.

McCarthy has served three terms in the state legislature, and 23 years in the United States Air Force, the statement said.

McCarthy said he is proud to have the endorsement.

"Making sure that everyday hardworking Montanans have access to high quality jobs to support their families and pursue their dreams is a top priority for me - and I am honored to have the endorsement of such an outstanding member of the business development community," he said.

Rogers is not a member of the state central committee. McCarthy, who is a member of the state central committee vis-a-vis his chairmanship of the Yellowstone Co. Democrats, has not said who will nominate him at the convention.

Kelly McCarthy (D)

Rep. Kelly McCarthy, D-Billings

Montana Democrats are preparing to hold a special nominating convention on Feb. 11 or Feb. 18, depending on when Zinke is confirmed by the Senate.

The convention will be held at the Radisson Colonial Hotel in Helena at 10 a.m. on one of those two Saturdays.

Others seeking the Democratic nomination include: State Rep. Amanda Curtis, musician Rob Quist, Gary Stein of Missoula, and attorney John Meyer of Bozeman. More could be nominated at the convention.

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Troy Carter can be reached at 582-2630 or tcarter@dailychronicle.com. He's on Twitter at @cartertroy.

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Troy Carter covers politics and county government for the Chronicle.

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