The GOP Primary Battle for Governor Gets Ugly Early

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If there is one certain thing about Montana politics in the next couple of years, it’s that the GOP primary race for governor in 2012 is going to be one messy, sordid affair–pun at least partially intended. While Rick Hill certainly has to be regarded as the front runner, with higher name recognition in the public and greater financial support from the Republican establishment, anyone who thinks that Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller won’t campaign viciously and negatively simply hasn’t followed either man’s career. This race is going to badly tarnish the reputation of whichever candidate wins, and Democrats would do well to let the Republican pack of candidates tear itself apart.

The fireworks have already started, and the first attack has landed on Rick Hill.

The Montanafesto blog has published an impressive collection of early 1990s articles about Rick Hill’s divorce and affair, neatly packaged by an a group calling itself “Montana’s Conservative Families,” an organization that, of course, doesn’t exist. Their e-mail attack on Hill was certainly understated, including this restrained passage:

We believe a Republican Primary is for nominating a candidate who  EMBODIES CONSERVATIVE SOCIAL VALUES, like family and faith. We cannot allow a person with “Bill Clinton values” to be a nominee for the Republican Party for Governor.Please also remember that the Democrats–and their liberal big-mouth Governor and their environmentalist Attorney General (who will be the Democrat nominee for Governor)–are all praying that Rick Hill is the Republican nominee.  With his womanizing past, they know he is easy prey.
The only real question is whether the Montana Conservative Families packet of article was opposition research done by the Stapleton or Miller campaigns, though I suppose one can’t rule out the super spy.
Carry on, gentlemen. Best of luck tearing each other apart.
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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an 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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So They Say
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So They Say

I am quite certain that was Ken Miller. He has been also sicking the Tea Party and John Birch Society (yes that group of wackos that was extinct for a lovely decade is back) ultra-rightists onto Rick as an “establishment” RINO candidate. Ken can’t campaign and can’t raise money, so he is trying to tear Rick down. Trust me, if there is a candidate that Bullock wants to face in the general election, it is Ken Miller. What a joke of a candidate. Interesting tidbit about Ken Miller: he professes to be a born again Christian, as does Rick. Wasn’t… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

That Stapleton rumor was dropped by the Hill camp to politico’s David Catanese. JBS’s criticism of Hill has far more to do with his voting record than their involvement with Miller’s camp, however. I agree that Bullock would love to face Miller in the general, but we all know that isn’t going to happen.

Not sure about your forgiveness of sins logic, there is a difference between forgiving and forgetting. While there are worse sins than adultery, it does say much about someone’s character, which is shady at best for Rick Hill.

LK
Guest
LK

Why the continuous references to Mormons in your columns? I don’t get it. Me, personally, I view ALL religions to be mainly horseshit. But you seem to despise Mormons. Care to explain why?

But you see, your entire PARTY uses the wedges issues of religion. Family values my ass! How long do you think that Montanans will fall for that crap?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I actually have Mormon friends, it isn’t that I despise Mormons, I just despise the hypocritical ones who use the capitol as a pulpit as they force their warped morality on the rest of us. Safe Community, Safe Kids (the organization behind the medical cannabis repeal) was founded by numerous Mormons. The group portrays itself as being concerned only about the safety of our community and children when in reality they are pushing ONE ISSUE. Medical marijuana repeal. They were funded by a total of ONE donor who also happens to be an outspoken liar from the LDS church. In… Read more »

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Doc
Guest

That’s a smart asnewr to a difficult question.

Rosa
Guest

Woah nelly, how about them apepls!

Kenneth Kailey
Guest

First, Republicans would do much better if they would get the hell out of the church and into the game. Leave religion out of it as it has NO business in politics. It is exactly that ultra religious bigotry and arrogence that is running old school conservatives away. Further, get off the pulpit. Rarely will you find an individual that hasn’t made a mistake or two. Hell, better than 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Stick to the issues (and character assasination is not an issue). You will be stronger for it. Instead of telling me who is mormon… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I agree with you, I really don’t care who Hill was banging- but when you are a proud member of the family values party, you better be prepared to be called out on your hypocrisy. I’m not a Hill fan- it isn’t because he’s a philanderer although I do think that a series of affairs tends to indicate a tendency toward deceit however. Like I said, I’ve had these articles for months…. and Montana elected him AFTER this information was publicized, so the “Montana Conservative Families” email may be entirely irrelevant regardless. On the other hand, we do have a… Read more »

Publius II
Guest
Publius II

Thanks for this fine blog Don, and I hope the folks in Shelby get ‘wise’ to the baggers….let the ‘baggers and birthers’ savage what’s left of any moderates in the GOP, and I can’t wait
to see the ‘tea bag’ platform……..

So They Say
Guest
So They Say

I am quite certain that was Ken Miller. He has been also sicking the Tea Party and John Birch Society (yes that group of wackos that was extinct for a lovely decade is back) ultra-rightists onto Rick as an “establishment” RINO candidate. Ken can’t campaign and can’t raise money, so he is trying to tear Rick down. Trust me, if there is a candidate that Bullock wants to face in the general election, it is Ken Miller. What a joke of a candidate. Interesting tidbit about Ken Miller: he professes to be a born again Christian, as does Rick. Wasn’t… Read more »

montanafesto
Guest
montanafesto

That Stapleton rumor was dropped by the Hill camp to politico’s David Catanese. JBS’s criticism of Hill has far more to do with his voting record than their involvement with Miller’s camp, however. I agree that Bullock would love to face Miller in the general, but we all know that isn’t going to happen.

Not sure about your forgiveness of sins logic, there is a difference between forgiving and forgetting. While there are worse sins than adultery, it does say much about someone’s character, which is shady at best for Rick Hill.

LK
Guest
LK

Why the continuous references to Mormons in your columns? I don’t get it. Me, personally, I view ALL religions to be mainly horseshit. But you seem to despise Mormons. Care to explain why?

But you see, your entire PARTY uses the wedges issues of religion. Family values my ass! How long do you think that Montanans will fall for that crap?

montanafesto
Guest
montanafesto

I actually have Mormon friends, it isn’t that I despise Mormons, I just despise the hypocritical ones who use the capitol as a pulpit as they force their warped morality on the rest of us. Safe Community, Safe Kids (the organization behind the medical cannabis repeal) was founded by numerous Mormons. The group portrays itself as being concerned only about the safety of our community and children when in reality they are pushing ONE ISSUE. Medical marijuana repeal. They were funded by a total of ONE donor who also happens to be an outspoken liar from the LDS church. In… Read more »

Kenneth Kailey
Guest

First, Republicans would do much better if they would get the hell out of the church and into the game. Leave religion out of it as it has NO business in politics. It is exactly that ultra religious bigotry and arrogence that is running old school conservatives away. Further, get off the pulpit. Rarely will you find an individual that hasn’t made a mistake or two. Hell, better than 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Stick to the issues (and character assasination is not an issue). You will be stronger for it. Instead of telling me who is mormon… Read more »

montanafesto
Guest
montanafesto

I agree with you, I really don’t care who Hill was banging- but when you are a proud member of the family values party, you better be prepared to be called out on your hypocrisy. I’m not a Hill fan- it isn’t because he’s a philanderer although I do think that a series of affairs tends to indicate a tendency toward deceit however. Like I said, I’ve had these articles for months…. and Montana elected him AFTER this information was publicized, so the “Montana Conservative Families” email may be entirely irrelevant regardless. On the other hand, we do have a… Read more »

Publius II
Guest
Publius II

Thanks for this fine blog Don, and I hope the folks in Shelby get ‘wise’ to the baggers….let the ‘baggers and birthers’ savage what’s left of any moderates in the GOP, and I can’t wait
to see the ‘tea bag’ platform……..

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I’ve been sitting on all of the articles for months, they were not difficult to find, so I doubt much oppositional research was actually required. I have no idea who is behind the email, which came from mtconservative, but I have my suspicions. Hill has a tendency to go dirty early though, so if the culprit is indeed an opponent’s campaign, he better have a clean house. I smell some tea party involvement here. I’d be interested in the distribution list.

Alex
Guest

My probelm was a wall until I read this, then I smashed it.

Olivia
Guest

Hey, klielr job on that one you guys!

montanafesto
Guest
montanafesto

I’ve been sitting on all of the articles for months, they were not difficult to find, so I doubt much oppositional research was actually required. I have no idea who is behind the email, which came from mtconservative, but I have my suspicions. Hill has a tendency to go dirty early though, so if the culprit is indeed an opponent’s campaign, he better have a clean house. I smell some tea party involvement here. I’d be interested in the distribution list.

dpogreba
Guest

Yeah, it’s possible I have them, too. It’s certainly interesting that it’s coming out this early.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

The Scribd account hosting each of the Hill articles belongs to a Tea party looking homemaker, Nancy Davis. I have no idea if she exists, but I do find it interesting she only has two followers- Jeff Bolstad and …… Ken Miller. Coincidence I’m sure.

Kapri
Guest

Free info like this is an apple from the tree of konwldege. Sinful?

Flossy
Guest

You keep it up now, udnersatnd? Really good to know.

dpogreba
Guest

Yeah, it’s possible I have them, too. It’s certainly interesting that it’s coming out this early.

montanafesto
Guest
montanafesto

The Scribd account hosting each of the Hill articles belongs to a Tea party looking homemaker, Nancy Davis. I have no idea if she exists, but I do find it interesting she only has two followers- Jeff Bolstad and …… Ken Miller. Coincidence I’m sure.

The Polish Wolf
Guest
The Polish Wolf

Interesting to that the first place they go has nothing to do with policy. The promises of smaller government and more liberty always seem to be nothing more than cover for this rather demanding cultural conservatism.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

They certainly seem to be going after what is important to them though- if this legislative session is any indication, the Montana GOP isn’t really interested in smaller government and more liberty- I’ve heard more fiscally conservative pro-liberty quotes from democrats than I have from anyone on the right this session. As soon as the session began, all campaign promises were GONE. From the GOP, I hear justifications for overturning initiatives “sometimes the voters get it wrong” and “this isn’t what Montanans voted for”. If we aren’t smart enough to vote on initiatives, what qualifies us to vote for the… Read more »

The Polish Wolf
Guest
The Polish Wolf

Interesting to that the first place they go has nothing to do with policy. The promises of smaller government and more liberty always seem to be nothing more than cover for this rather demanding cultural conservatism.

montanafesto
Guest
montanafesto

They certainly seem to be going after what is important to them though- if this legislative session is any indication, the Montana GOP isn’t really interested in smaller government and more liberty- I’ve heard more fiscally conservative pro-liberty quotes from democrats than I have from anyone on the right this session. As soon as the session began, all campaign promises were GONE. From the GOP, I hear justifications for overturning initiatives “sometimes the voters get it wrong” and “this isn’t what Montanans voted for”. If we aren’t smart enough to vote on initiatives, what qualifies us to vote for the… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

You guys are making the 2012 elections too complicated.

2012 will be a referendum on Obama.

If gas prices/food prices are stil high, and gas is $4.00 a gallon, and the job market is still sour the Dems will get pasted, especially Dems like Steve Bullock who defend Obamacare.

That’s why I’m hoping Bullock is the Dem nominee.

Eric
Guest
Eric

You guys are making the 2012 elections too complicated.

2012 will be a referendum on Obama.

If gas prices/food prices are stil high, and gas is $4.00 a gallon, and the job market is still sour the Dems will get pasted, especially Dems like Steve Bullock who defend Obamacare.

That’s why I’m hoping Bullock is the Dem nominee.

So They Say
Guest
So They Say

As a conservative who is not really following the daily craziness of the GOP-controlled legislature because I have a life to live, it is interesting to read what you rapid liberals have to say from time to time. Hare are my responses, in no particular order: 1. All the negative Rick Hill stuff is most likely from Ken Miller. He is Mr. Righteous, and is closely tied in with Jeff Laszloffy’s group, though I doubt Jeff is interested in saddling up with a sure loser this early in the race. Ken can’t win on the issues because Rick is conservative… Read more »

Melissa
Guest

What liberating knowledge. Give me liebtry or give me death.

Titia
Guest

Insights like this liven things up aronud here.

So They Say
Guest
So They Say

As a conservative who is not really following the daily craziness of the GOP-controlled legislature because I have a life to live, it is interesting to read what you rapid liberals have to say from time to time. Hare are my responses, in no particular order: 1. All the negative Rick Hill stuff is most likely from Ken Miller. He is Mr. Righteous, and is closely tied in with Jeff Laszloffy’s group, though I doubt Jeff is interested in saddling up with a sure loser this early in the race. Ken can’t win on the issues because Rick is conservative… Read more »

dpogreba
Guest

It’s a pretty tough sell making the argument that I am intolerant about religion. If you can find a single thing I have written in six years that demeans religious faith or practice, I’d be quite surprised.

What I (and others) object to is the hypocrisy of those who claim to be more moral than others engaging in behavior that is most certainly not Christian.

So They Say
Guest
So They Say

Not you, Pogie. Talking about the rest of the comments on this page. You have to admit the extreme amount of vitriolic prejudice against religion (Mormonism in particular) from some of the same people who want to tar and feather Peterson, Knox, et al for gay-bashing seems a little absurd and yes hypocritical. It’s not just Christian conservatives who are guilty of that.

dpogreba
Guest

It’s a pretty tough sell making the argument that I am intolerant about religion. If you can find a single thing I have written in six years that demeans religious faith or practice, I’d be quite surprised.

What I (and others) object to is the hypocrisy of those who claim to be more moral than others engaging in behavior that is most certainly not Christian.

So They Say
Guest
So They Say

Not you, Pogie. Talking about the rest of the comments on this page. You have to admit the extreme amount of vitriolic prejudice against religion (Mormonism in particular) from some of the same people who want to tar and feather Peterson, Knox, et al for gay-bashing seems a little absurd and yes hypocritical. It’s not just Christian conservatives who are guilty of that.

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