I Don’t Mean To Suggest the Montana Standard Doesn’t Get Montana Politics, But…

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In an otherwise positive editorial about the appointment of Mike Cooney as Lt. Governor, they offered this analysis:

The electoral math is evident. In order to win reelection, Bullock needs what every Democratic statewide candidate needs — significant pluralities in Anaconda and Butte.

Just carrying them isn’t enough. He needs margin to make up for Republican strength — in Billings, in Great Falls, and in most rural counties. Even Bozeman, which has turned decidedly bluer in recent years, could be tough sledding if the Bozone’s luxuriantly self-financed Greg Gianforte is the GOP foe.

Great Falls? Given that Cascade County voted 55-40 for Governor Bullock in 2012, it’s hard to argue that its largest city is some kind of Republican stronghold. Billings? Well, Yellowstone County voted 48-47 for Rick Hill in 2012, while Billings resident Roy Brown was crushed by Brian Schweitzer in the county in 2008.

It’s a small mistake, but reflects a pretty limited understanding of the actual situation in Montana politics. It’s the kind of mistake having someone like Chuck Johnson around would probably have prevented.

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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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  • It’s a small mistake that is indicative of a much bigger issue – over-enthusiastic defeatism, based on the belief that Montana deep down is overwhelmingly Republican and only votes Dem by accident. Hence, Greg Strandberg.

  • ” — significant pluralities in Anaconda and Butte” will be helpful but a big turnout in Missoula County is one thing that’s certainly needed. Although Bullock got over 62 percent of the Missoula vote in 2012 with a 70 percent turnout, only 49 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in 2014. That won’t cut it in 2016.

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