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Libertarian candidate Mike Fellows killed in car crash

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MISSOULA, Mont. - Authorities say Mike Fellows, the Libertarian Party's candidate for Montana's U.S. House seat, died in a car crash.

Missoula County sheriff's officials say Mike Fellows died in a head-on collision with another vehicle on Montana Highway 200 Monday night.

Undersheriff Jason Johnson says Fellows was heading toward Missoula after a campaign event in Seeley Lake. He died at the scene.

A person in the other vehicle has been taken to a hospital for undisclosed injuries.

The 59-year-old Fellows was making his eighth run for U.S. House against Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke and Democrat Denise Juneau.

Fellows has run in every statewide election since 1998. Besides U.S. House, he ran for Montana Supreme Court Clerk in 2012 and Secretary of State in 2000.

The Montana Libertarian Party has released the following statement:

It is with the deepest of sadness that we learned of the passing of Mike Fellows, longtime chair of the Montana Libertarian Party.

Fellows was leaving a campaign event in Seeley Lake when his car crashed head-on with another. Fellows was campaigning for Montana's U.S. House seat against Republican Ryan Zinke and Democrat Denise Juneau when the crash occurred.

Tom Lutey of the Billings Gazette recently referred to Fellows as the "godfather of third-party politics in Montana." As the longest-serving active state chair of the Libertarian Party, he worked tirelessly to advocate the party's message for more than two decades, often on his own dime, on his own time. Former Libertarian candidate Dan Cox said that Fellows' effort on behalf of the party was "monumental," sometimes funding candidates' ballot fees from his own pocket. The word dedication doesn't even begin to describe Fellows' contribution to and passion for spreading the message of liberty in Montana.

Because of Fellows' single-handed perseverance, the Montana Libertarian Party garnered enough votes to be legally recognized as major political party and has maintained ballot access across the state for more than twenty years, something few third-party state affiliates have been able to accomplish.

Fellows began running for office in 1996 with a bid for the state legislature. In 1998, he ran for what would be the first of five bids for the U.S. House. In 2000, he ran for Secretary of State. In his 2012 campaign for state Supreme Court clerk, Fellows made history, becoming the first Libertarian candidate to garner more than 40 percent of the vote in a partisan statewide race.

A proud board member of Missoula Community Access Television, Fellows was also very active with the American Legion, holding the post of vice commander, and with the Fully Informed Jury Association, a cause for which he held a passionate commitment.

The outpouring of support and condolences from people of all political leanings would have touched and honored him. Our sympathies go out to Fellows' family and friends, as well as the many lives he touched across Montana.

Superintendent Denise Juneau has released the following statement:

"I'm shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Mike Fellows. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Mike was a passionate advocate for his values, and I have always admired his courage and dedication to serving Montana. He will be missed."

Congressman Ryan Zinke has released the following statement:

"My sincerest condolences to the Fellows family, his friends, and followers. Mike was a true advocate for the Libertarian cause and a good man. He had incredible passion for his platform and he will be missed in Montana."

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