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GREAT FALLS - There are less than 2 months until Montanans will decide which candidate for governor make it to the general election ballot.

Saturday, the Montana Farmers Union will host a virtual debate for both Republican and Democrat candidates. 

Current Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney and businesswoman Whitney Williams will debate for the Democrats.

Current Attorney General Tim Fox and former state senator Dr. Al Olszewski will debate each other for a spot on the Republican side of the ticket.

Rep. Greg Gianforte, current representative for the US House, has declined the invitation by MFU citing a scheduling conflict.

The debate will be focused in issues concerning rural Montana.  Topics will include but are not limited to country of origin labeling, healthcare and the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to agriculture.

Although the debate will be focused around agriculture, Montana Farmers Union (MFU) President Walter Schweitzer tells KFBB the topics discussed will impact everyone.

"If they eat, farmers are important.  If they wear clothes, farmers are important.  If they drink anything, farmers are important.  So if you eat, drink and wear clothes this is important to you," said Schweitzer.

The debate was originally put together in December as an in-person debate, but due to social distancing restrictions, the format had to be changed to virtual.  

Regardless of how the debate is going on Schweitzer says it's important to discuss how the future leaders of Montana will treat the state's biggest industry. 

"Agriculture is a major part of Montana's economy.  Much of Montana is rural.  We see these debates and forums and they're not talking about agriculture.   They're not talking about rural Montana. It's important that our statewide leaders that are running for office should visit with rural Montanans about their issues. "

The debate can be seen on SWX at 7pm.  It will be streaming on montanarightnow.com and our Facebook page.  It will be re-broadcast on FOX at 4:30pm on Sunday April 26th.

This is the first of two debates MFU will be hosting.  Saturday, May 2nd they'll host another debate, this time focusing on the candidates running for US House.  More details will be posted about that debate in the coming days. 

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