Montana Politics

Gopher in, Rankin possible

As already reported here, Melinda Gopher is in it to win it.  According to the Missoulian,

Gopher said she would work to dismantle the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling that equates money as free speech and allows corporations to give to political campaigns without previous restrictions.

She said she will work to strengthen environmental laws and would oppose the Keystone XL pipeline in any future applications.

Gopher also said she would attempt to reverse the federal law that delisted wolves from being a protected species.

These positions, like so many of her policy positions, are sure to make her popular with the left-wing of the Democratic Party, while making her less than viable in the general (Citizens United being the exception – Ds, Is, and Rs all seem to have at least some level of disdain for that awful decision).

It should be stated that Gopher did garner a surprising 22% in the congressional primary in 2010, but this year she’s a little late to the game and most of Missoula seems to have already rallied around Strohmaier.

Sam Rankin of Billings also ran in 2010 and got 16% of the vote.  Currently, Rankin is “is talking with people to see if he has more support for the House than he did two years ago.”

So, who in the heck is in this race now?  In no particular order:
  1. Kim Gillan
  2. Franke Wilmer
  3. Dave Strohmaier
  4. Rob Stutz
  5. Jason Ward
  6. Diane Smith
  7. Melinda Gopher
  8. *Sam Rankin

I’m sure Kim Gillan’s camp is excited to see Gopher get in the race because it only further fractures the left-wing of the party, making her nomination all the more likely.  Also, look at the map – every candidate running (excluding the possible entry of Rankin) comes from western Montana, leaving all of eastern and rural eastern Montana for Gillan, where she is already focusing most of her resources.

This race is becoming more and more interesting to watch by the day.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • Gopher says she's in to win. What else would she say? I think she's using her primary candidacy as a platform for amplifying her voice on issues important to her.

    Could she win? Yes. Only a plurality is required for victory. With eight candidates (if Rankin joins) just 12.5 percent plus one vote could win the nomination. And if her base from 2010 holds, if that base is not split by Jason Ward, and there is another shamefully low turnout in the Democratic primary, she could win the nomination.

  • Correction, Pogester. Melinda Gopher is from Hill 57! Again, when you look at this lady, you will see Montana! The real deal. Anyone who is familiar with Hill 57 knows that to be from there is to be from grassroots Montana. I know that this is an improper use of the word, but she IS more unique than any of the othere candidates. She's definitely worth a look. When her father Robert died, I thought that that was the end of the Gopher line of courageous leaders. I can't tell you what a great feeling it is to see Melinda running. I knew her father Robert well. He was a great man.

  • Would you be happy, Don, if Gillan, a right-wing Democrat, gets in? I do not understand why anyone thinks that a right wing Democrat is better than a right wing Republican.

    It may be true that Tea Party members are on the philsophical fringe, but if we see their main function as broadening the spectrum to make right wing Democrats seem like a rational alternative, then we can see why their rise in 2009 was not coincidental, and why it was supported by a wide group of wealthy backers. They made Obama seem like a liberal, and as he carries forward with the Bush neocon agenda, he is backed by opponents of that agenda.

        • So, probably another futile exercise, but where are you reading in that Storin is supporting Gillan? I think he's making a pretty strong case that the large field benefits her. That's fair analysis, not an endorsement.

          You even seem to agree that Gillan is perceived as more centrist than the other candidates.

          Instead of presuming that this yet another piece of evidence in the neocon conspiracy at ID, maybe it's just an observation (an a good one) about the race.

          • Probable futile as well, but unknowing complicity is often confused with conspiracy. If you support Obama's administration and policies, you support neocon policies, no matter what you think you are supporting. Because if you strip away party labels and look at his actions, he cannot be distinguished from Bush.

            You are right, however, that Storin did not endorse Gillan. But it is an odd feature of our politics that the same philosophy dominates "both" parties and that a right-wing Democrat passes as something normal in our politics.<added afterwards> (often referred to as "centrist.")

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