An Increasingly Relevant Six Year Old News Story

Peter Johnson, writing in the Great Falls Tribune, in 2002:

It’s too early to panic, but Montana Democrats anxiously are recruiting a candidate to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg….

But the more pertinent time frame is how long it takes a challenger to organize a campaign, raise money and get his or her name before voters.

By that measure, Democratic as well as Republican politicos agree, it’s getting late.

“We are fast approaching the time when a Democratic challenge to Rehberg will become little more than a facade,” said former Democratic Congressman Pat Williams, who started his own campaign nearly two years before he was first elected to Congress in fall 1978.

“We’re not quite at that point yet, especially if a well known Democrat enters the race,” he added. “But it takes a lot of time to organize, raise money and get known around the state.”

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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  • The fact that the Republicans have two challengers for Baucus to contend with and he’s got $9 million in the bank (91% of which is from out-of-state) certainly suggests that the state of the Republican Party is not as weak as some like to think. The fact that the Democrats can’t come up with a challenger for Rehberg – who has less money and slightly lower favorables – certainly suggests that the state of the Democrat Party is not as strong as some like to think. The Montana Democrat Party is based on a cult of personalities not policies. And some of those personalities are term-limited…

  • Well, MTSentinel, then we certainly have dozens of personality cults in Montana, given the state of our State legislature.

    Another way of analyzing the situation is that Montanans are bombarded with propaganda about “The Democrats” being controlled by communists, homosexuals, whatever. And on a local level, they can see with their own eyes that this is not true. However, they cannot so easily re-assure themselves about Democrats they have no directly worked with.

  • Seriously, two challengers for Baucus? Let’s not get carried away. Two people are running against him; neither of which looks like a challenger.

    I don’t think the phrase cult of personality means what you think it does. Some Democrats are quite popular, but few are engaged in a campaign of mass media veneration.

    One might even think that they have become popular because their policies resonate with Montana voters. I have enough faith in the voters to believe that.

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