Montana Politics Winners and Losers of the Week 14 May 2012


It was a big week for phone companies in Montana as both the Bucy and Miller campaigns violated state law with a series of robocalls across the state. The Miller approach was far more egregious, as the candidate called 100,000 numbers across the state, including reporters, liberal bloggers, and the Commissioner of Political Practices.

Miller’s move was desperate, something fit for a candidate with little chance of winning.


Dustin Hurst’s unusual take on reporting did inspire at least two Twitter accounts worth following, @DirtybagDustin and @TheTruthHurst.


He promised bold leadership to grow Montana’s economy…at the same pace it has been growing for months…and his running mate decried his nonsensical, offensive war rhetoric. Just another week in the life of super spy Neil Livingstone.


Senator Tester may not have gone as far as I would prefer when it comes to marriage equality, but his position supporting civil unions is a step in the right direction. While similar to the position taken by Steve Bullock last week, Tester was more explicit about his support for equality.


While I have to credit Republican Party  executive director Bowen Greenwood for his honesty, it’s hard to be terribly excited about someone mounting a write-in campaign for Clerk of the Supreme Court for purely political reasons. In his announcement e-mail, Greenwood said he was running because “Republicans should care about this effort. As a voter is marking his or her ballot, the tendency is to keep voting the same party all the way down the ticket, unless something breaks the chain.”

The truth is that Ed Smith, the long-serving Supreme Court Clerk, is eminently qualified and should keep his position Greenwood has no experience relevant for the position—and his nakedly partisan reasons for running are a clear indication that his write-in campaign shouldn’t be taken seriously.

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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  • Here’s hoping that if Pam Bucy wins that you’ll be able to cheer her on. Pretty great candidate for AG. I sense an antagonism towards her that I don’t understand. Don–hopefully you’ve met her , and then ruled her out. She’s eminently qualified for the job.

    • I absolutely will be rooting for her if she wins the race. I’ve been impressed with Pam and think she’d be an excellent AG. I’ve just been disappointed in the strategy her campaign has adopted. It’s beneath an excellent candidate.

      For me, with Jesse Laslovich, I’ve seen an excellent candidate and entirely clean campaign.

      I’ll certainly support either candidate in the fall, though. I hope supporters of both candidates can say that.

      • Pogie I agree, I think Pam is a very nice person but her campaign has been disappointingly negative. Whoever is managing her campaign made a decision to run against Jesse instead of for Pam, and it shows. Plus the constant slander of Jesse and his supporters on The Montana Cowgirl site did not help, as a matter of fact it was a big turn off, and a major reason I decided to get behing Jesse.

  • The Bucy campaign did not conduct illegal robocalls. According to MCA, calls introduced by a live person that obtain the permission to transmit a recorded message, in this case from Public Service Commissioner Gail Gutsche, of the dialed party are legal. These are the only calls that were conducted by the campaign. I hope this puts this matter to rest. Bucy is a fine candidate and public servant.

    • Are you sure that’s true? Because two people I’ve spoken to in Missoula absolutely deny that they received any kind of live introduction giving them the option to opt out.

      I do think Ms. Bucy is an excellent public servant. I don’t think I have ever questioned that.

      • Yes I am 100% sure that’s true. You should know that elections are full of hearsay and rumor, and even sometimes systems aren’t 100% accurate (such as a bad number or address in a mailing). The calls were made legally, and it is up to law enforcement to prove otherwise, not a blog. I truly hope real robocalls are finally prosecuted this cycle, but the Bucy calls wouldnt fall under that category. This blog has thrown around a lot of unsubstantiated accusations over the last few months, and I think it would behoove the authors to hold themselves to a higher factual standard than this. Don, I would expect more from you especially. Primaries should be about issues, not rumors.

        • “This blog has thrown around a lot of unsubstantiated accusations over the last few months.” Unless you are talking about cowgirl I think this is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.

        • Only cowgirl 360 is allowed to mudsling. Sounds like there was some corner cutting on those robocalls quite a few people in Missoula did not get a live intro. Maybe a refund is in order.

        • I would take this comment more seriously had I not spoken to people who did not receive the robocalls sans live operator. How did people get consent consent, as you claimed in the Indy, when the calls went straight to voicemail?

        • Annie –

          I’m more curious about the strategy. Are Robo calls actually effective? I don’t often receive any political calling, because I’m careful with my phone number, but nonetheless I hate getting phone calls I didn’t ask for. But, if campaigns use them, they must work on some people? That’s surprising.

  • I suspect Stapleton is also in the loser category. Even with Ken Miller’s implosion and increasingly desperate behavior, I suspect he will still beat Stapleton in Yellowstone County, with both losing to Hill.

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