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The Democratic candidate for House District 68 in Belgrade has withdrawn from the race.

Claire Broling, a first-time candidate, campaigned for property tax relief, more affordable and accessible health care and a higher minimum wage.

She didn’t respond to a request for an interview.

The Gallatin County Democrats are accepting new candidate applications. The brief application includes questions about candidates’ relevant experience and willingness to serve. Applications are due Monday at 5 p.m.

The Democrats will meet next Wednesday to make a selection. The meeting is open to the public and will provide an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of each candidate, said chair Elizabeth Marum.

The Gallatin County Democratic Central Committee, which includes about 35 people elected from the county’s precincts, will vote to select Broling’s replacement.

The Democrats are looking to flip the seat for House District 68, which is now held by Republican Bruce Grubbs. Marum said selecting a new candidate puts the party slightly behind, but winning is still possible.

Whoever replaces Broling will face Republican Caleb Hinkle in November. Hinkle unseated Grubbs, a more moderate Republican, in the June primary.

“We want someone who is willing to do the work and run actively against Caleb Hinkle because we don’t think he deserves a spot,” Marum said.

Hinkle is a former legislative worker and member of the Montana Army National Guard. He has campaigned on pro-life policies, protecting the Second Amendment, lowering taxes and shrinking the state budget.

“My candidacy has always been about advancing the issues important to this district,” Hinkle said. “I will continue this work regardless of whatever political games that the Democrats want to play.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.

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