It would seem that Greg Gianforte’s “exploratory” campaign for governor is just window dressing for the rubes and hayseeds back in Montana, because as early as a month ago, he told D.C. reporters that he was running for governor. From Politico, today:
Gianforte spoke to the Politico reporter at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas in mid-November, refusing then to tell the Montana press that he was a candidate governor, despite being listed as a “2016 gubernatorial candidate” at the right wing gathering.
And when pressed today by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Gianforte refused to confirm that he was running, refusing to say whether or not he was running for office:
In an interview Tuesday, Gianforte declined to say whether he was officially campaigning, saying only “I’m officially exploratory.”
Gianforte’s unwillingness to tell the people of Montana what he’s willing to tell Beltway reporters and dark money donors at the RGA is intriguing, and I’m reminded of the Montana Standard’s recent editorial, in which they criticized another candidate for governor for refusing “to answer direct questions in matters important to Montana citizens.” Given that Mr. Gianforte is using the shield of his exploratory campaign to avoid answering any substantive questions, from dark money regulation to the CSKT Treaty, one has to wonder when Montana papers will stop running puff pieces about telecommuting and start demanding answers from the Gianforte campaign.
There’s never been any mystery about whether Gianforte planned to run for governor. He’s been planning it since launching a series of initiatives to get his name in the press. I don’t think it’s too much to ask, though, that he tell the people of our state what his intentions are, and that he start answering the kind of policy questions we expect our governors to demonstrate an understanding of.