Montana Politics

Republican Attorney General Candidates Miss the Target

My apologies for not getting the Attorney General and Governor posts up last week. Real life intruded—and hell, there are something like 45 people running on the Republican side for governor. Give a person a break!

The contest to replace Steve Bullock promises to be the most interesting race for statewide office, given the absence of an incumbent and an already hot race between a few of those fighting for the spot. While we’ll certainly take a closer look at the Democratic candidates in a later post, today we’ll focus on the leading Republican candidates, neither of whom seem remotely ready to step into Steve Bullock’s shoes.

Tim Fox

My concerns about Tim Fox as Attorney General really come down to two issues: his lack of experience and his temperament.

Fox simply lacks the necessary experience for the job. As he told Missoula’s KMPT radio, the Attorney General’s job is “certainly not a place to be trying to do a little on the job training.”

His employment record is, at best, unimpressive, and at worst, leaves some serious questions about his inability to stay in any position for very long.

His issues page demonstrates his disregard for protecting Montana’s laws. While no one is interested in restricting gun rights in Montana, there are forces who want to undermine our democracy—and it’s clear Fox is on their side, no doubt supporting Citizens United in their effort to turn corporations into people.

As for temperament, I’ll stick with what I wrote in 2008: “Fox has no business serving as the next Attorney General of Montana. He has run a mean-spirited, intellectually dishonest campaign that disqualifies him from serious consideration as Montana’s top law enforcement officer.

Since that bid, he’s demonstrated an incredible lack of judgment, posting an image suggesting that the logo of the Democratic Party was a shooting target, shortly after Gabby Giffords was shot in Arizona, show his willingness to carry water for the Koch Brothers, and continuing his dishonest rhetoric from the 2008 campaign. He couldn’t even hide his infantile behavior at his campaign announcement, tearing down a Laslovich sign at the Capitol.

If Mr. Fox were running for the executive director of the Republican Party, he’d be eminently qualified. As Attorney General, he’d be anything but.

Jim Shockley

Senator Jim Shockley seems to be having a lot of trouble getting his campaign off the ground, relying on loans to himself to campaign. His endorsements page is indicative of what seems to be a central problem of his campaign, an almost total absence of support from current Republican officials. There are enough “former” endorsers on that list to make it seem likely that Shockley will be a “former” candidate. It seems like Facebook might not be working out for him, either.

Shockley’s taken a few very problematic positions for an Attorney General candidate. He seems bent on ignoring the will of Montanans who supported the right to medical marijuana and the overwhelming evidence that Montanans don’t want the government making end of life decisions for them. Along the way, he profoundly disappointed supporters.

As for Mr. Shockley’s most famous moment in the 2011 session, I’ll leave the comment about getting caught illegally driving with an open container to him: “It’s certainly not a plus.”

In the end, expect Tim Fox to win this primary. He simply has the more energetic campaign, better name recognition, and the willingness to say almost anything to get elected. Whether it’s Pam Bucy or Jesse Laslovich, the Democratic candidate had better be ready for one negative campaign this fall.

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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  • TEA Party Tim. Think Fox was nuts in 2008? Well, he really jumped in to the deep end with the TEA Party after losing to Bullock in 2008. I think Laslovich has the best chance of beating Tim Fox this year and it seems like Tim knows it, too. Tearing down Jesse's signs? Really? Pathetic.

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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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