From the governor:
I ordered the special election to occur on Thursday, May 25 – the soonest possible date allowed by law – to fill the vacancy of Montana’s lone representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. There are a lot of important discussions being had in Washington, D.C. right now and we must do everything we can to ensure Montanans have a seat at that table as soon as possible.
If it’s going to be a mail-in ballot election, folks could start getting their ballots in late April. This is still to be decided by the legislature. The mail-in bill — SB 305 — has passed the senate and is headed to the house when legislators get back from transmittal break on March 6. One thing’s for sure, the candidates and the county election offices are going to be scrambling.
Some whine with that cheese, Essmann?
The Billings Gazette has a guest opinion piece from Montana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Essmann. It has the awesome title, “Beware ‘nihilist, progressive anti-Trump fringe’.”
Essmann is still trying to break county budgets by insisting that they set up polling places for the special election. He’s worried sick about undocumented voter fraud. Essmann says:
Democrats are howling now that their dream goal of forcing all people to use mail ballots under the guise of saving money while increasing their opportunity for ballot interference has been exposed.
I must have missed that exposé. Anyway, if you’re worried about nihilists pilfering your ballots or you don’t trust the U.S. Postal Service, all the county election offices I’m aware of will have secure drop boxes where you can deliver your ballots.
A story by MTN’s Mike Dennison has Greg Gianforte, who’s hoping to be the Republican nominee for Montana’s vacated U.S. House seat, raising $825,000 in February. That’s a substantial sum considering he hasn’t locked up the nomination. And he wants more. The author at Logicosity posted a solicitation he received from Gianforte. Greg’s apparently short $7,038. Here’s my comment at that site:
I got the same email request for a contribution, which is funny because it followed a tweet I’d just received from MTN news saying he’d already raised $825,000. So I guess his goal for February was $832,038. To quote the story, “(Gianforte) reports that he has already raised $825,000 …” I wonder who he reported to? Not the Federal Elections Commission. All the FEC has is a Statement of Candidacy. The story goes on to say “the money has come from 1,500 donors in the past few weeks.” I’d sure love to see that list of donors and the amounts.
And the Republican nominee is …
Laurel’s Ken Miller believes he’s in the running, according to the Billings Gazette:
Miller described the race for his party’s nomination as essentially a two-candidate race between himself and 2016 gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte.
No mention of state Sen. Ed Buttrey by Miller, who I believe has a decent shot at it. Miller and Gianforte are cut from the same cloth: far-right Christian fundamentalist. Buttrey, not so much, although the Gazette article talks about how the Republican candidates are now Trump true believers, even though they supported other candidates up to the Republican convention last summer.
Buttrey was the exception to that, being a Trump supporter early on. So, maybe Ed isn’t that moderate, as some would suggest. Flathead Memo’s James Conner gives his take on the special election in his “Briefs” post.
I’ll bet they voted for Trump
That would be the 40 folks who paraded around downtown Billings in support of suspended radio host Paul Mushaben. From the Gazette:
Mushaben, who co-hosts the morning radio show on Cat Country radio, KCTR 102.9, was suspended indefinitely Thursday after he wrote a blog post calling for separate postseason high school basketball tournaments for Native Americans in order to avoid what he described as “unruly,” “disrespectful” and unsafe fan behavior.
The marchers were quoted as saying things like, “He tells it like it is. His words were misinterpreted. He’s not a racist.” Whatever. I appreciate that Townsquare Media, the owner of KCTR, took this action against Mushaben.
Also in the Magic City
Don posted a piece on Sunday, with video clip, of a guy blasting away at alleged shoplifters in the Rimrock Mall parking lot in Billings. I submitted this short letter to the editor at the Gazette:
Hey, Billings, do you mind if I come down there and squeeze off a half-dozen rounds in one of your shopping center parking lots? Apparently, it’s an okay thing to do. I’ll try not to hit anyone. Thanks, and looking forward to it.
The letter hasn’t made it to the print pages or online. I doubt that it ever will. Also, no word yet on if the alleged shoplifters have been apprehended or if the shooter has been charged with any crimes. He was released by police at the scene.