Mike Fellows, Montana Libertarian Party Chair, Dies While Campaigning for Liberty
By The Montana Libertarian Party
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 recognized as a qualified 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.