Today the Montana press covered the U.S. House race – primarily, the Democratic primary. I know, shocking. The more serious candidates were summarized as follows:
Diane Smich: desperately trying to come off as a Democratic while still attempting to set her self for a win in the general election – or
The former business executive from Washington D.C. entered the race late last year by raising a competitive $100,000 in her first quarter.
The newcomer is proving her credentials as a Democrat — despite some past donations to Republicans — by being outspoken in support of gay rights, and in defense of legal abortion and other issues. But she argues she also can appeal to conservative independents in the general election because of her own background successfully building private businesses.
Kim Gillan: a moderate, pragmatic, and result-driven Democrat from eastern Montana – or
Some Democrats have branded Gillan the moderate in the field. She is highlighting an argument that she has a pragmatic track record in the legislature of getting things done without fanfare. Unlike others in the field, the Billings workforce development coordinator at Montana State University-Billings said she won’t be “finger pointing” at current House Republican leaders.
“If you want to get something done in a highly partisan atmosphere, which the U.S. House is, then working across party lines without leaving principles behind is critical,” Gillan said.
Franke Wilmer: a Democrat focused on jobs and foreign policy who is unphased by the political and electoral challenge opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline presents in a general election scenario – or
Wilmer, a political science professor at MSU, is touting foreign relations experience developed overseas during her educational career — along with a bootstrapping personal biography of moving from blue collar jobs to an advanced degree.
And she is perhaps appealing to environmentalists helpful to a Democratic primary by promising to be a rare Montana politician — from either party — who opposes the Keystone XL as currently proposed.
Dave Strohmaier: a liberal Democrat, hoping bold policy stances will get him past a primary – or
Dave Strohmaier is a Missoula city councilman also courting the liberal wing of the party by making a big push for more federal support of passenger rail service. The former Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management employee, who lags behind in the money race, said he hopes to excite the party’s base with a message built around experience with local issues facing small cities.
Rob Stutz: a Democrat who doesn’t like fundraising and is hoping to win a primary through purely grassroots efforts or –
Helena lawyer Rob Stutz has shunned fundraising of any type, and has specifically promised to reject political action committee money and to refuse making campaign pledges for special interest groups. Stutz, who raised just a few thousand dollars in the most recent campaign reports, argued the statewide congressional seat can be won without money.
He argued he wants to “empower” people to get directly involved in his campaign without donating money, such as by publicly endorsing him on his website, talking to friends about the campaign and helping with social media. Stutz said money will eventually flow to whichever Democrat wins the June primary election.