While we’ll be breaking the other statewide races into individual posts, the similarity in the Auditor and Secretary of State races makes the combining them a natural fit. In each race, the incumbent is a professional who has done excellent work in her first term and the challenger is someone who seems not to understand the duties of the office he is seeking, one because of his positions on the issues and the other because of his demonstrated lack of competence.
The choice is so clear that even the Montana Chamber of Commerce, which endorses Republican candidates as reliably as snow falls in October, endorsed Linda McCulloch and Monica Lindeen over their challengers.
Secretary of State
In this rematch between Linda McCulloch and Brad Johnson, retaining the incumbent is the obvious choice. Since taking over the Secretary’s office, McCulloch has streamlined operations, saved taxpayer money, and implemented federal voting guidelines that Mr. Johnson seemed incapable of getting a handle on. She’s established an excellent set of online resources for voters and businesses, including a voter page to check registration. The combination of her professionalism and excellent work as Secretary make her the clear choice.
Her opponent, Brad Johnson has already had an opportunity to demonstrate his incapacity for office. The only quality he really seems to have demonstrated is an obsessive desire for state work, ranging from the PSC to the Commissioner of Political Practices. While Johnson is pushing right-wing buttons about identification at the polls, even he’s been forced to admit that voter fraud is not a problem in Montana. He failed to implement Help America Vote guidelines while in office, was poorly rated by County Election supervisors, and tried to give thousands of dollars of bonuses to his staff after losing his last election.
Let’s not forget that Johnson has taken more positions on same day voter registration than Mitt Romney on abortion, either.
Let’s not let Mr. Johnson poorly run Montana elections again.
The Auditor’s race is an even easier call. The Republican candidate Derek Skees is the most reactionary candidate for statewide office in my lifetime as a Montanan. Whether it’s his enthusiasm for the losing side of the Civil War, his support for discredited nullification doctrine, his support of and from the John Birch Society, his enthusiasm for eugenics, his desire to end Social Security, his support for a sales tax, or his troubling connection to the White Identity movement, Skees is out of touch, extreme, and wrong for Montana.
In addition to that, he simply has no idea what the power of the Auditor is. While he imagines that he can ride out on his John Deere and slay the imaginary dragon of Obamacare, that’s simply not the Auditor’s job. Let’s not elect someone who doesn’t understand the duties of the job.
Given all of that, it would be easy to endorse Monica Lindeen, even if she hasn’t been an excellent Auditor. She’s done admirable work protecting Montanans, including Rick Hill, from investment and insurance fraud. She’s staffed her office with a professional corps of investigators and prosecutors who have helped her do exactly what the Auditor is charged with, protecting Montanans and ensuring sensible regulation of businesses that operate here.
In these two races, Montana Republicans have provided the public with a stark choice: professionalism and excellence or ideology and incompetence. Vote McCulloch and Lindeen.