Troy Downing

Republican Troy Downing, a Bozeman businessman, files Thursday to run for the U.S. Senate. Downing is one of several Republicans in the primary trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, in what is expected to be a closely-watched and expensive race. Several candidates filed at the Secretary of State's Office on Thursday morning, while others submitted their filing online. Filing closes March 12. The primary is June 5 and the general election is Nov. 9.

Thom Bridge, thom.bridge@helenair.com

A trial is scheduled less than two weeks before the primary election for a Republican U.S. Senate candidate charged with illegally purchasing resident hunting or fishing licenses in Montana while living in California.

Gallatin County Justice of the Peace Bryan Adams on Wednesday set a three-day jury trial for Troy Downing beginning May 23. Downing faces nine misdemeanor violations.

The Big Sky businessman has pleaded not guilty and claims the charges are politically motivated.

But the timetable for the court proceedings means questions over Downing's residency status will remain at issue through most of the primary season, leaving him open to potential attacks from detractors.

On June 5, voters will choose a nominee to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in the November 2018 general election.

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