Republican Candidate Update: A Dog Killer, A Eugenics Advocate and the Really Angry One

My apologies for the short supply of posts in the past couple of weeks, but I simply haven’t had the energy to do much writing between the pressures of school and a nagging illness that has lasted the better part of four weeks. I hope to be more active as we enter these last three weeks before the election, focusing on the statewide races and calling some attention to the far less-discussed ballot initiatives we’ll all be voting on.

While I’ve been gone, political life here in Montana certainly hasn’t come to a halt, despite my profoundly self-absorbed perception of my significance. A few stories that I’ve paid attention to have probably already crossed your path, but in case you missed them, here are a few of the top political stories in Montana the past week or so.

Topping the list is certainly the horrifying story of Republican legislative candidate Roger Webb, who brutally killed one dog and attacked another because he “felt threatened” by the vicious black Labradors he shot as they ran away from him. Someone with that temperament and cruelty should never be elected to the Legislature. It’s a good thing Billings voters have the option to elect Democrat Wanda Grinde instead.

It’s not just dogs who die because of poor decision making by Republicans, though. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been following the story of Kalispell’s Dan Fredenberg, a man who was shot three times by someone who felt threatened by him. Because of Montana’s ill-advised “castle doctrine” legislation, the Flathead County Attorney says he can’t prosecute the man who shot Fredenberg even after Fredenberg was lying on the ground. Who was one of the fiercest advocates of the law that allows for this kind of violence? Gary Marbut, one-man lobbying team and Republican legislative candidate from Missoula.

It wouldn’t be a Montana political update without a reference to Derek Skees, the worst candidate for statewide office Republicans have run in my lifetime. The Montana Democratic Party released a video with the most damning kind of evidence against Skees—his own words. In the minute long clip, Skees calls for an end to Social Security, supports a sales tax, waxes poetic about nullifying everything, defends eugenics as “the control of population”, and promotes nuclear power in Montana.

Roger Koopman, Republican candidate for the Public Service Commission, is very angry that even Republicans know he doesn’t belong in any position of power. Koopman, who has a long history (but less than 6,000 years) of attacking members of his own party, is so incensed that some have endorsed his Democratic opponent John Vincent, that he told the GOP executive director that his attacks “will not end until Republican blood is flowing in the streets.” Yikes.

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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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