Montana Politics Winners and Losers of the Week


  • It may be a bit hyperbolic and even a touch early, but I’d like to believe that the big winner of this week in Montana politics was the prospect of responsible governance. The fact that a coalition of “Reasonable Republicans” was willing to compromise on the budget offers a path for future bipartisan governance of the state rather than the insane brinkmanship of the past two sessions.
  • Governor Bullock took a bold move to protect minors from dangerous parental notification laws by allowing a Republican law to pass, immediately allowing a court challenge to take place. As I’ve written before, parental notification laws may seem superficially appealing to many voters, but threaten the most vulnerable young women.

  • Former Governor Schweitzer thundered back into relevance this week, as the simple rumor that he’d consider running for the Senate led to a massive online response and support from progressives both in and out of the state. If he decides to run, he’s the prohibitive favorite–and likely to scare off the top tier of Republican candidates, such as it is.

  • Those on the far right and far left who have come to view Senator Max Baucus as the embodiment of everything wrong in Washington got their wish this week, but I’d argue that both sides often misrepresented and misunderstood the role Baucus played.


  • Jason Priest and Supreme Commander Essman struggled to control their caucus in the Senate, caved to Governor Bullock after an embarrassing stunt, and failed to deliver the changes their corporate masters at American Tradition Partnership and Koch Industries paid for. I wonder if those guys kept their receipts.

  • Montana’s working poor were the biggest losers of the session, as conservatives in the Legislature blocked Medicaid expansion supported by the business community and advocates for the poor.

  • Champ Edmunds and Corey Stapleton sank into even less relevance this week, as Steve Daines, Marc Racicot, and Dennis Rehberg all made noise about running for Senator Baucus’s seat in 2014. It’s worth noting that if any of the second group actually run in 2014, they’re awfully likely to make a future loser list.

  • Salmonella and  e. coli, as the aforementioned Champ Edmunds was unable to offer them a growth opportunity during the legislative session.

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.

Subscribe to our posts

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.


Click here to post a comment

Please enter an e-mail address

  • I sugest to the coalition of ‘reasonable’ republicans that if they want want to be Democrats they should run as Democrats in the future – we (The GOP) will deal with them as we have previous RINO’s. Cleaning out INO’s is a good strength the GOP has, and the Dems do not. One of the reasons the Dems are becoming a permanent minority in the Montana legislature.

    As far as Medicaid Expansion, you are being ALMOST dishonest by not mentioning that the Medicaid Expansion is a key part of Obamacare, which Montana voters strongly dislike, do you remember Initiative 122 last November, which specifically PROTECTS Montanans from Obamacare? It passed huge.

    • I’m excited by this kind of answer. The more Republicans like yourself talk about RINOS and define conservatives out of the party for not being radical enough, the better chances Democrats will have in elections.

      As for OBAMACARE (scary), you’re being a bit dishonest to not mention that even the Montana Chamber of Commerce endorsed Medicare expansion–because they know it’s a winner for Montana.

Latest PostCast

Support Our Work!

Subscribe Via E-mail


Which Democratic Candidate for Governor Do You Support Today?

Send this to a friend