Brad Johnson Can’t Even Spell Defeat

One has to admire Brad Johnson’s tenacity, if nothing else. Desperate to find work and unable to get anyone to support him, he’s lost a race for the Public Service Commission, offered his services to the Commissioner of Political Practices, and now is running for Secretary of State once again. Demonstrating the kind of excellence he showed in his previous tenure as Secretary of State, he recently wrote a sad little letter to the editor attacking current Secretary of State Linda McCulloch.

He attacked Mrs. McCulloch for her efforts to provide a web site voters can use to report fraud and illegal behavior during elections, something all of us would agree can only help improve the process.

Voting trouble is certainly a subject with which Mr. Johnson has more than a passing familiarity. During his tenure as Secretary of State, he failed to ensure the integrity of Montana’s elections as a 2006 audit showed that:

  • 42% of county election supervisors said the Secretary’s office did a poor or very poor job proving guidance in late registration.
  • excluded felons and the dead were not purged from the rolls.
  • the Secretary of State’s office was responsible for delays on Election day in 2006.
  • Brad Johnson wasted money promoting himself, rather than improving his office.

It’s also worth noting that, as Secretary of State, McCulloch halted $60,000 in illegal bonuses that Brad Johnson awarded his staff on his way out of office.

Finally, and amusingly, Mr. Johnson couldn’t even spell McCulloch’s name correctly in his letter—and the Gazette didn’t correct his error. Not exactly the best confidence building strategy for someone known for his sloppy work and incompetence, even among Republican circles.

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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  • Another race where the public interest may be best served by voting for none-of-the-above.

    Is there anything the incumbent can point to that made lives in Montana better in her past 3.3 years in office? Her Land Board votes were pretty consistently rubber-stamp, pro-corporate, rape-the-land-for-cash. That's what Martz and Johnson did too. The most noticable historical difference: Democrats with Chairman Schweitzer at the helm, and McCullough playing lead cheerleader, significantly increased subsidized logging, mining, drilling, and grazing on Montana's School Trust Lands. This bunch makes previous Republican trustees look like pikers.

  • Can we draft the night janitor to take over the office instead of these two? To mutilate a phrase from Mr. Churchill, never in the history or Montana politics have so few done so little for so many. McCollough is a career do-nothing politician. And in the era of insiders constantly wanting to be outsiders, Johnson is the perennial outsider who so desperately wants to be an insider. They are both sad. And we deserve so much better. We have elections problems. I wouldn't call them earthquake-level tragedies. I would say they are more like an old rotten house that has been neglected, infested with termites, and just waiting for a really good storm so it has an excuse to fall over. But from the outside, it looks okay with a decent coat of paint.

    Here's what we need: a candidate for Secretary of State who really cares about elections, who really knows a thing or two, and who has at least five ounces of political courage to make some moderately difficult decisions to make the process better. In other words, we don't need a rock star, just a country music singer who isn't already over the hill and three sheets to the wind. The standard has been set pretty low. It's like the Navy: all the studs went to the Army and Marines, so just send us someone who can pass the physical and won't get seasick, and we'll make do.

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