10,000 Reasons for John Bohlinger to Drop Out of the Senate Race

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The campaign finance reports for the last quarter are out—and former Lt. Governor John Bohlinger has reported raising almost $10,000—a number that has to disqualify him from consideration as a serious Senate candidate. In contrast, his major primary opponent, current Lt. John Walsh, raised almost sixty times as much money, collecting $583,000. And lurking after the primary is Representative Steve Daines, who has almost $2 million sitting in his campaign coffers.

Bohlinger simply isn’t a viable candidate in that context. The truth is that he hasn’t even raised enough money for a competitive legislative race at this point, much less a statewide campaign.

I certainly believe that money has had a corrupting influence on American politics. There is far too much money influencing our elections and our politicians. We need to work to reduce its influence, without question.

But serious candidates need to be able to raise enough money to campaign, to connect with voters, and to pay for talented staff. And money measures something else: that a candidate has enough support to be considered for the office. Having raised less than  $10,000 means that John Bohlinger hasn’t connected well enough with Montana voters to find 500 people willing to throw him $20.

Decry the corrupting influence of money all you want, but a candidate who can’t find anyone willing to make even small donations is a candidate without a base of support. Having lived as a Republican, Independent, and Democrat in the past twelve months has simply made Mr. Bohlinger a candidate without a home.

Mr. Bohlinger says that he believes in Democratic principles now, and I take him at his word—even if I have some serious lingering doubts about his votes on issues critical to progressives in the past. But at this point, his campaign (one devoid of substantive issues, serious campaigning, or any real support) can only hurt those principles.

To date, the only thing the Bohlinger campaign is doing is providing campaign consultant Bob Brigham a slightly higher platform from which he can throw firebombs at Montana Democrats who don’t meet his exacting (if ever-changing) standards for liberalism. Day after day, the person who Bohlinger has entrusted with conveying his message endlessly repeats Republican talking points, unfairly and inaccurately attacking the viable Senate candidate, John Walsh.

If Mr. Bohlinger is serious about supporting Democratic values and policies, it’s time for him to step aside, endorse John Walsh, and disassociate himself with a flailing campaign consultant who is destroying Bohlinger’s legacy for decency just a bit more every day. It’s time for him to recognize that this isn’t a winnable race. It’s time for him to go back to being the John Bohlinger we all admired as a Lt. Governor.

There’s still good work for John Bohlinger to do: he can help the initiative to expand Medicaid in Montana; he can try to restore decency to the Republican Party; he can work to expand privacy protections. None of those goals, though, work for a Senate candidate with no chance of seeing the Senate.

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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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PogieTim in MTTurnerJames ConnerCraig Moore Recent comment authors
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Greg Strandberg
Guest

Oh, I think he might as well stay in it until the primary. If he’s no threat to Walsh it shouldn’t hurt Walsh any. Cut all campaign staff and just keep the name on the ballot, giving more democrats an excuse to get to the ballots in June or mail in their ballot beginning in May.

If he does pull out he’ll surely support Dirk Adams now and not Walsh. There’s got to be something he feels Walsh slighted him over, isn’t there?

http://www.adamsformontana.com/

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

Greg, did you see Adams’ letter at Left in the West? http://www.leftinthewest.com/diary/4882/dirk-adams-why-im-a-democrat

Sorta puts to shame Walsh’s vaporous campaign and principles. Walsh may have money but little else.

James Conner
Guest

Interesting that Adams sent his letter to LITW. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but I’m surprised he didn’t send it to every political website in Montana. I would have published it.

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

James, it appears Adams has the type of candidate website that you have wanted for Walsh. http://www.adamsformontana.com/issues Walsh seems to be content leading from the rear as Adams steps forward with why he is a proud Dem.

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

About all that’s left for Walsh to say is “Me too…except for the pipeline and coal.”

Turner
Guest
Turner

I’ve seen enough of Walsh and Adams to come out fully for Adams. I’m putting an editorial together on the Beaverhead County Democrats website.

I don’t know how to link to our webpage on ID, but it’s http://www.beaverheaddems.homestead.com. Maybe other county groups can get into the endorsement business, too.

Greg Strandberg
Guest

Well I’m certainly much more interested in this guy Adams now, who I really have no idea about at all. I’ll have to do some research tonight. If anything it just makes it more likely Bullock will appoint Walsh, now that there’s this guy that could really energize a lot of people in the state. Before there was no real threat to Walsh, but just from what I’ve seen in the past day I’d say Adams has the potential to be a real and serious threat – until the primary at least. If he’s right and the democrats are trying… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest

Exactly, not to mention the staff he should cut is Bob Brigham!

Mark Tokarski
Guest

Sounds like you are debating yourself here, Don. Let’s us know who wins – Mr. Clean Politics or Mr. Just Win Baby.

Tim in MT
Guest
Tim in MT

It does help when you have DC running your campaign fundraising. Walsh has over $100k just from Massachusetts aggregator ActBlue alone. So your assertion that Bohlinger hasn’t found “500 Montanans,” probably doesn’t matter much when you can get the kids in DC to pander to the other 49 states for your coffers for much, much more.

Pogie
Guest

You know that Act Blue is a mechanism for individuals to donate, right? Presumably, you also know (given your profound political expertise) that John Bohlinger also is using an online service to raise money.

The difference is that Walsh has raised some. We can certainly debate the merits of sources of campaign funding (and I’d love to talk about the GOP candidate for the House and Senate in that regard) but the simple fact is that John Bohlinger has no support.

Tim in MT
Guest
Tim in MT

The about face from you on Bohlinger is just beyond transparent. Search your blog for mentions of Bohlinger before he announced, and it’s nice things like posing with Brian Schweitzer to fight corporate contributions in elections. The minute anyone doesn’t pave a level path for your manchurian candidate to march into the election, and you become an unreasonable, foaming at the mouth rabid attack dog on a guy who served 2 terms under a Democratic administration. The guy served faithfully for 8+ years, and you’re dumping him over the cliff for a political unknown because you like his army digs… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest

Max will do fine Tim. Baucus does speak chinese better than most. The Chinese really like Baucus, and he does know how to put together an excellent senate house staff. Secondly, it will favor our state. I think Baucus wanted this appointment, he got a lot done between China in the white House besides business. He has a very Fair belief system for helping others no matter their skin color. Our American Indians throughout the USA have praised him, and his staff for getting things through for them. I think he is the right guy for the job, he has… Read more »

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

The right guy????? He publicly stated he doesn’t know much about China.

Pogie
Guest

That’s not what he said. He said that he’s “not an expert,” a refreshing view from a politician. I’m reasonably sure that most ambassadors are not “experts” on the countries they serve in, but use their judgment and staff to represent the views of the United States.

Norma Duffy
Guest

The Chinese like doing business with Max Craig. The man will do us proud.

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

Yes his exact quote was, “I’m No Real Expert On China…” Don’t believe that’s a meaningful difference. With all of the tensions between China and it’s neighbors, their rising military might, etc., etc., why does Obama not send a China professional from business or academia? What a joke.

Greg Strandberg
Guest

From my 5 years over there, I’d say both of those things wouldn’t be too effective. Businessmen on the ground over there are frustrated more often than not by how the Chinese do business. Someone from a large business might have more luck but then I’d just worry about corruption. Academics aren’t really trusted over there, in my opinion. I don’t think many of them have a firm grasp of the country from studying out of their offices, either. Thankfully the State Department has good staff in that country that know how to do their job regardless of who’s signing… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest

No like Pogie I find it a good truthful answer in a time, when we need a guy who knows how screwed up, our politics are on this side of the isle. Max already knows where their money is in our government. he has a handle on how much we owe and where we can exchange goods to cut down the debt without giving away the governments secrets. Come on Craig hes been part of the banking committee for years. Obama with Max’s help has already cut our debts by half in 8 years. I see a plan brewing here… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest

By the way the only way China is gonna get the whole Keystone pipeline through America is only after Max secures funds from them to keep it safe here. They gave the Canadians over 8 billion to see if Tar sands are a Viable product…. how much do you think they will pay us to keep it safe, and develop technologies to make it cleaner?

Pogie
Guest

Your characterization of my posts on Bohlinger is about as accurate as your view of contemporary politics in general. For the most part, I have written very little about John Bohlinger, because he was a non-entity during the Schweitzer administration. He was nice guy, sure, but he didn’t do much. My criticism of Mr. Bohlinger has really been focused on two issues: he’s either lying about his beliefs or has radically altered many of them without explanation and his campaign is running interference for Steve Daines, not helping Democratic principles. And now he’s added a third element: he’s completely un-electable… Read more »

Mark Tokarski
Guest

I am always impressed when you discover a politician who has told a lie.

Norma Duffy
Guest

Attention Mark: Not all politicians lie!

Mark Tokarski
Guest

I know. Democrats don’t. I got that, Notma. I got that.

Norma Duffy
Guest

Raising money, by stumping is actually okay by me. It gives the public a chance to see a candidate talk about the issues…. and pay what they want. So is by party stomping or some service like “Act Blue” In all actuality if a candidate was stumping, Id like to see a corporate board be present in its entirety there at the event to give a candidate money. No more bundlers either. Id like that just fine instead of secret wire transfers and superPacs. If they want to keep Citizens United, I would at least want a human face attached… Read more »

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