Montana Politics

Our Endorsements for the Democratic Primary: Bullock, Juneau, and Hunt

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Though many of you have probably already voted (I can’t quite get used to this early voting business), we’ve decided to take a look at the statewide and national Democratic races and offer our endorsements for the candidates we feel are the best choices. These were incredibly difficult choices, as the Democrats are blessed with great candidates for many positions. That being said, after some discussion, we found that all of us were largely in agreement about these choices: Steve Bullock for Attorney General, Denise Juneau for the Superintendent of Public Schools, and Jim Hunt for the U.S. Congress.

Local endorsements will appear tomorrow.

President of the United States

We split 2-1 on this one. You’re on your own. 🙂

Governor:

No comment, but at least give these guys a look.

Attorney General: Steve Bullock

When deciding the Attorney General race, we kept coming back to the same topic: experience. While John Parker’s experience as a criminal prosecutor and member of the House and Mike Wheat’s experience in the Legislature and as a Deputy County attorney are impressive, Steve Bullock’s experience in the Department of Justice, combined with his leadership of Raise Montana’s efforts to increase the minimum wage in Montana, convinced us that he has the practical experience and value system that will best serve the people of Montana.

We’re also impressed with the details of Bullock’s positions on important issues. From Safe Schools to protecting Seniors, Bullock is offering the most comprehensive program for the Attorney General. As Jay Stevens noted in his endorsement, Bullock is offering a more visionary set of plans for the Attorney General’s office.

All that being said, we agree most with Mike Wheat on one very important issue: his clear opposition to the death penalty. He rightly notes that it is too dangerous to impose the ultimate penalty when we cannot be absolutely certain about innocence and guilt. Opposing the death penalty is important to all of us, and we admire Wheat’s bold stance in a state that still supports the death penalty, but ultimately, it’s application is infrequent enough to make it less than a top-tier issue in this race.

Democrats will be well-served if any of these fine public servants win on Tuesday, but our endorsement goes to Steve Bullock.

Superintendent of Public Schools: Denise Juneau

We enthusiastically endorse Denise Juneau for the office of Superintendent of Public Schools. Her depth of knowledge, commitment to progressive values, and reasoned response to the difficulties imposed by the federal No Child Left Behind Law make her the best candidate to lead OPI and Montana’s education community into the future.

Montana schools face a critical interrelated problem: the achievement gap between students in high poverty areas and the rest of the state, and the gap between students living in poverty and those living in middle class homes. Montana schools are largely doing an excellent job with the latter, and struggling with the former, and the next Superintendent needs to make that a top priority. Denise Juneau’s support for additional resources to help schools facing NCLB penalties and recognition of the need to work on these achievement gaps, rather than just blame the law are emblematic of her approach, which is both pragmatic and hopeful.

We also Juneau because we believe she will be the most energetic and effective campaigner this fall. Given the antipathy towards public education shown by Montana Republicans, it is critical that our candidate be one who will reach out to the public and campaign enthusiastically for the job.

In another field of strong, experienced candidates, Denise Juneau is the best choice.

U.S. Representative: Jim Hunt

This decision was certainly the easiest for us to make. Jim Hunt can beat Dennis “Millionaires matter more than soldiers” Rehberg, though it will be a real challenge. His support for a sensible withdrawal from Iraq, real educational and health benefits for veterans, health care, and education without federal penalties for struggling schools make him a candidate we can enthusiastically support.

While we admire John Driscoll’s record of service and commitment to campaign finance reform, he simply cannot beat Dennis Rehberg. Jim Hunt can, and deserves your support.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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