Education Montana Politics

Responsible Republican Sandy Welch Enters the Race…Again

The Montana Streetfighter is reporting that Sandy Welch, the failed Republican candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, has already filed for the 2016 race.

While I am certainly better at math than Ms. Welch, this decision to file comes roughly 1,000 days early, suggesting either that Ms. Welch wants to displace Brad Johnson as the GOP’s irrepressible, unelectable candidate or that she thought this form was part of her quixotic recount bid.

In either case, Ms. Welch may face real opposition from within her own party as she mounts another campaign.  While Welch seemed to gain support from moderate Republicans (all seven of them) and the conservative “Git the UN of our schools” crowd in 2012, she’s aligned herself with the heretical “Responsible Republicans,” which means she’ll likely face a challenge from a far more conservative candidate in the primary—as well as the prospect of dark money attacks from those who view their conservative brand of Republicanism as they only kind.

It’s a risky move for Welch, who doesn’t have much of a record as either a player in the Republican Party or as a school administrator in Montana. Given the hostility running through the Montana GOP today, Welch might have served herself better by staying out of the intra-party squabbling.

And filing about two years later.

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    • The decision to run is no surprise, but filing three years early seems a bit excessive.

      It will be interesting to see if her decision to align with the moderates will hurt or help her ambitions.

      Based on the campaign she ran in 2012, I never had the sense that she had either the experience to run OPI nor the commitment to any particular political ideology other than expediency.

      • She’ll have a prominent part in the dark money initiative campaign, That’s intended to give her positive exposure. If the initiative is successful, she’ll go into 2016 with a lot more statewide name recognition than any other candidate for OPI.

        Her credentials for the job remain as thin as ever.

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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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