Montana Politics

The Field of Republican Candidates for Secretary of State Fails To Impress

Written by Don Pogreba
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Presuming no additional highly-qualified Republican candidates file for Secretary of State today, the following four represent the best the Republican Party could offer to challenge incumbent Democrat Linda McCullough for the office. It certainly says something about the Grand Old Party in Montana that its best and brightest for an office charged with election fairness and business registration have more traffic stops involving alcohol than Dennis Rehberg, more conspiracy theories than a 9/11 Truther, and more misplaced anger at public sector employees than Tim Ravndal.

It’s quite a collection—and here they are.

Scott Aspenlieder

His qualifications for the office seem to be that he likes the TEA Party and that he hates public sector employees and is dismissive of Montana’s small towns.

Since announcing his candidacy, he’s been largely invisible—and is campaign web site lists nothing more specific than platitudes about his pledge to “uphold electoral integrity.” A little substance would be nice.

Brad Johnson

On the bright side, he has experience with the legal system and he’s certainly eager to find employment. Slightly less positively, in his previous tenure as Secretary of State, he badly managed the 2006 elections, took illogical positions on critical issues like same-day voter registration, promoted himself at the expense of doing his job, gave illegal bonuses to his staff on his way out the door, and seemed better suited to be the Secretary of State for Arkansas—in 1863. You’d be hard-pressed to find even many Republicans who think that Johnson should have another crack at mismanaging this office.

Patty Lovaas

Lovaas is also quite familiar with litigation, filing so many frivolous suits alleging voter fraud that she’s been labeled an irritant by Montana courts. She’s also demonstrated a peculiar aversion to votes determining elections, a somewhat problematic position for someone running for Secretary of State.

DREW TURIANO

Mr. Turiano is a noxious nativist who wants to replace Montana’s income tax with a  massive, regressive sales tax. He proposes, as Secretary of State of Montana, to have the United States withdraw from NATO and the United Nations. In short, he would have been a moderate Republican in the 2011 session.

Good luck choosing from this field of candidates, Republicans. As for me, I’ll stick with a candidate who has efficiently run the office and ensured the integrity of Montana elections. No matter which of these candidates wins the Republican primary, the easy choice is Linda McCulloch.

  • Monday: Secretary of State
  • Tuesday: Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Wednesday: State Auditor
  • Thursday: Attorney General
  • Friday: Governor

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-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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