2018 Election Featured Montana Politics

Randy Pinocci Has to be My Favorite Montana Republican

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There’s a long list of ill-informed, demagogic Republicans in Montana, but for a pure combination of ignorance and misguided certainty, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone worse than PSC candidate Randy Pinocci.

Pinocci, who had to be defended by Missoula’s Brad Tschida after I reported that he spent his legislative session playing virtual hero on Facebook, has decided that he wants to take his special brand of litigious ignorance to the PSC. Backed by such luminaries as the bigots at the Montana Family Foundation, serial candidate Ken Miller and Agenda 21 crackpot Dan Happel, Pinocci is running a single note campaign centered on opposition to the CSKT Water Compact to win election to PSC District 1.

It only takes a cursory examination of this story from the Havre Daily News to get a taste for just how disastrous it would be for someone like Pinocci to serve on the PSC, which relies on understanding a mixture of complex regulatory concerns.

Example 1:

Pinocci added that the compact will cost “$2.3 billion in federal taxes and $55 million to the Montanan taxpayer.” When asked to specify the costs, Pinocci declined to comment, referring the Havre Daily News to another source.

Example 2:

Pinocci said his opponents may believe the PSC has nothing to do with the water compact, but “it absolutely does.”

The PSC says it does not have much involvement. “We don’t have a lot to do with the compact. We were involved for about a year when NorthWestern Energy owned the Kerr Dam,” PSC Spokesman Bowen Greenwood told the Havre Daily News.

Example 3

Pinocci said he completely disagrees that the water compact protects water rights. He said it gives the CSKT the right to sell the water not only off the reservation but out of the state of Montana.

“(The CSKT water compact) that they have had is having reservations across the United States re-assessing their water rights and making claims and lawsuits,” Pinocci said. He did not know which tribes.

Example 4:

Pinocci said that “the amount of water that the CSKT have won is more acre-feet than all the reservation and tribes in the U.S. combined.” He could not say what was the amount of acre-feet of water he described.

There are a couple of issues with the story, but it’s pretty refreshing to read a piece that debunks falsehoods offered by a candidate for public office in a fair and even-handed manner. While Pinocci is hardly the only Montana Republican who combines a Trumpian lack of knowledge with Trumpian sense of self-certainty, he might just be the most entertaining.

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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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