Are Montana’s Republicans Running for Governor or Confederate President?

A couple of candidate forums the past few days make it a fair question, as the thirty or so Republicans running for the honor of losing to Steve Bullock seem awfully committed to proving just how reactionary they are.

Consider these quotes from the forum in Hamilton, collected by Ravalli Republic reporter Whitney Bermes and from the Great Falls forum, collected by Great Falls Tribune reporter John Adams. Presumably a more detailed story will follow tomorrow, but these tweets certainly capture the essence of what it means to be a Republican in Montana today—and I’m even being nice enough to leave out the truly deranged ones.

Jim Lynch is not only willing to offer his life against an imaginary threat to the Second Amendment, he believes in a UN-led conspiracy to destroy America. No, really. Finally, he offered his insight as a climatologist.




Neil Livingstone, disappointed that he wasn’t able to profit from the war in Libya wants to start one with the federal government and environmentalists:



Ken Miller seemed content to show that he lacks a basic understanding of the issues that face Montana:





One assumes that Corey Stapleton was off collecting donations during the events.

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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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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  • Problem is when you have an entire FIELD of dipshits running, just HOW do you differentiate yourself as the biggest dipshit OUT there? I dunno. Focus groups maybe? And then, the other problem is, say you win the nomination, how do you appeal to any group OTHER than the dipshits? Is that a big enough voter block to carry the day?

    • p.s. I’m thinkin’ of askin’ someone from the next Lege to sponsor a bill for me. It’s kinda like the transvaginal ultarsound one for women. I think that we need a transANAL ultrasound for any dude runnin’ for guv on the Pubbie side. I think it’s important for them to realize just WHERE their heads are when they’re makin’ these imbecilic statements. And once they realize just how stoopid the look, maybe they’ll choose to abort their own nonsense. And hey, if they’ve got nuthin’ to hide, why should they object, right?

  • The national press has a rather limited view on the Montana governor's race, from an AP story:

    — In Montana, a conservative state where Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer is stepping down after two terms, Republicans are enthusiastic about their chances despite a June primary that has drawn at least 7 hopefuls so far. Former Rep. Rick Hill is considered a favorite. Attorney General Steve Bullock leads the Democratic field.

    First, Schweitzer isn't stepping down, he's termed out.

    Second, yeah, we're conservative compared to, say, Vermont. Compared to our neighbors Wyoming and Idaho, we're practically Communists. And yeah, we voted for McCain instead of Obama in 2008, but only by about 12,000 votes. The office of governor, our two U.S. Senate seats and all 'Tier B' statewide offices are held by Democrats. Granted, both of our state houses are controlled by Republicans — maybe schizophrenic is a better term than conservative when describing our state's politics.

    Third, the AP reporter probably got this right: it will be Bullock/Hill in the general election. I don't think it will be a landslide but Bullock should pull this one out. Hill has the best name recognition in the Republican field, he's raised the most money among the Rs and is the most moderate, which says a lot about how wacky these primary candidates are. ( I admit, though, I don't know much about O'Hara, although I love his highway signs.) But Hill hasn't been politically active in years and he has some personal baggage. Bullock seems well liked as AG, doesn't have a nasty primary ahead of him, has a strong campaign underway and has raised more money than Hill. The smart money's on Bullock.

    • I'm curious Pete.

      If Max is the only one standing after Nov. would that qualify us as "conservative"?

      Does the AP secretly hold premonitions?

      And finally if the Gov., Rep, and Senate turns Rep. what will you blame such conversion on? Dirty campaign ads? Citizens United decision? Redneck backlash?

      • To answer your questions, Ingy:

        No matter what happens in November, I'm sticking with my "schizophrenic" label.

        I don't think the national AP has a clue what's going on in Montana.

        Bullock will win. Daines has the edge. Tester/Rehberg are neck-and-neck (I'm hoping Rehberg has a couple more of his drunken/stupid moments). I'm not ready to blame anyone or anything, there's still a lot of time left. I believe that if the economy continues to improve, we don't get sucked into another war (think Israel/Iran) and we get out of Afghanistan sooner rather than later, gas prices don't go over $4/gal. (at least not for too long), the Republicans continue to beat each other up, and a few other factors, the Democrats are poised to do fairly well. I'm trying to find some polling to support my assertion but, as usual, it's all over the map..

        • Pete, you're a good soldier, or a hopeless romantic.

          Ya know what I'd like to see after the elections? Some introspection, instead of the status quo.

          Meaning of course, choosing our leaders more wisely.

  • Whitney Bermes does a great job. Props to her on the tweets!
    It's rare to find a local reporter with a solid understanding of the issues they are covering.
    if an informed electorate is key to a functional democracy, why are our local journalists paid so poorly?

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