Troy Downing might just be the Neil Livingstone of the 2018 election cycle in Montana: backed by the Zinke family, rich beyond measure, and self-absorbed beyond comprehension, Downing and his candidacy offer a fascinating insight into the mind of someone who believes that financial success translates to the kind of leadership necessary to run a campaign and govern a country.
After the weekend’s excellent reporting by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that detailed Downing’s series of hunting violations as a California resident who illegally obtained resident game licenses for himself and his son, the public discovered what readers of this blog knew in August: that Downing, if he’s been a Montana resident, sure hasn’t been one for long.
Knowing that a series of 9 hunting violations would be the death of his campaign, Downing went on the offensive today, with his campaign releasing one of the most idiotic responses from a Montana campaign since Livingstone and Zinke bragged about having water boarded people.
Downing claimed that the “deep state” at Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks was going on a “witch hunt” to destroy his political career. No, I’m not making those quotes up. Downing seems either believe that a secret cabal of agents deep inside the rugged pickup trucks Montana wardens drive is determined to thwart his candidacy, or more likely, he believes that Montanans are gullible enough to fall for his mixture of Trumpian rhetoric and lies that seek to cover a simple truth: Downing wasn’t a Montana resident when he claimed to be one.
Downing, who told a California newspaper how much he loved living there in 2015, seems to believe that the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks wardens (a generally conservative lot) traveled ahead in time four years when they began the investigation of the California businessman back in 2013.
The investigation began in December 2013 when the Montana Department of Revenue asked FWP to look into whether Downing met residency requirements for Montana hunting, fishing and trapping licenses. DOR said it believed Downing had illegally purchased resident licenses.
In fact, as the Chronicle notes, Downing filed income taxes as a non-resident in 2013 and 2014. I guess the deep state is working at his accountant’s office, too.
That’s not all he managed to do in the release today. No doubt trying to connect to the little people in Montana who don’t own vineyards or homes in gated communities, Downing argued that he’s just too rich to have broken the law, saying “he overpays by tens of thousands of dollars to fish and hunt” in Montana.
Let them eat tenderloins, I guess.
Most ridiculously, Downing also seems to believe that anyone in Montana would be concerned enough with his candidacy to attempt to derail it. While I’m sure that Lola Zinke is enthusiastic about his candidacy and the Trump boys enjoyed playing dress up with him when they put on their brand new cammo pants at one of his campaign events, it’s hard to imagine that anyone is taking Downing seriously as a candidate, much less seriously enough to engage in a time-traveling conspiracy to stop him.
The only thing that makes sense about this story is that Lola Zinke supports this guy.