For reasons I don’t readily understand, the Billings Gazette reported today that the Club for Growth, an organization that has endorsed Matt Rosendale and financially supported his campaign, released a poll conducted by a polling firm with marginal credibility showing that Rosendale has a lead over his Republican rivals.
I certainly don’t doubt that Rosendale is in the lead: given his non-stop campaigning for political office the past four years and his ability to use state resources to campaign, it only makes sense that he would have higher name recognition than the other candidates, but the newsworthiness of a poll paid for by an interest group that’s in the bag for a candidate, not to mention one that doesn’t even list its questions or methodology, seems low.
While today’s poll is almost certainly not newsworthy, it does offer an excellent reason to examine the forces outside of the state who are investing millions in an effort to elect the Maryland real estate developer.
As Mike Dennison reported this week, Rosendale is being lavishly supported by Wisconsin’s Richard Uihlein through his Restoration Super PAC, to the tune of 1.2 million dollars in the primary alone. Uihlein and his PAC specialize in supporting Senate candidates who can’t get support in their home states: in Wisconsin, his PAC is backing a candidate to oppose Senator Tammy Baldwin and relying on false statements to do it.
And Uihlein was the most significant donor to a SuperPAC working to elect suspected child molester Roy Moore in Alabama.While other Republicans worried that Uihlein’s support would be toxic, Rosendale has embraced his contributions and even refused to condemn Roy Moore after he lost his election.
That Rosendale is so reliant on an out-of-state billionaire is hardly surprising. His 2014 campaign for the US House was so weakly supported by Montana Republicans that he ended with a campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt because he couldn’t raise enough money to be competitive.
And that trend has continued. As Mike Jopek noted on Twitter before the last round of campaign reports, Rosendale isn’t raising money from many Montana individuals or communities. In fact, Jopek noted, 81% of Rosendale’s donations came from 125 addresses that donated $2000 or more to his campaign.
Out-of-state corporate interests see Montana as a cheap Senate seat to buy and plan to do whatever it takes to support a candidate like Rosendale, who sham poll notwithstanding, doesn’t generate much excitement or support from Montanans, who know his agenda to destroy access to healthcare and public lands, not to mention his cruel disregard for the rights of all Montanans, doesn’t represent who we are.
Billionaires own enough of the U.S. Senate. Let’s not let them buy another member here in Montana.