The Red Lodge representative and founder of the conservative non-profit group Montana Growth Network was booked on Saturday at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility with a $335 bond. A jail dispatcher told the Associated Press that Priest was still in custody Sunday afternoon.
Priest, the current chairman of the Montana Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee, also came under fire in 2010 for making anti-gay remarks on Facebook during a federal spending discussion, calling economist John Maynard Keynes a "big homo." He later apologized for the "in-artful and hurtful" remark in a letter to the Carbon County News.
The 45-year-old legislator is part of a hard-right faction of Republican senators in Montana fighting to replace traditional conservatives with more tea party-aligned representatives.
Priest defeated Democrat Aaron Kampfe for Montana’s District 30 in 2010 with over 2,500 votes. He has not yet filed for re-election.
Red Lodge Police Chief Richard Pringle has not yet returned AP’s request for comment.
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