Ryan Zinke Steve Daines

Will Zinke and Daines support Trump?

I can’t wait to see what they do. From the New York Times:

Donald J. Trump’s dominance in the Republican primary is upending the campaign for control of Congress, as Republican lawmakers seek to distance themselves from him while Democrats seize on the chance to run against a candidate who has offended huge sections of the American electorate.

Nominating Mr. Trump could create a political battlefield of extraordinary breadth and volatility.

To endorse or not to endorse — this must way heavily on the mind of, particularly, Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Ryan Zinke. Does he dis frontrunner Trump and alienate the disenfranchised white, male electorate who voted for the Commander in the past? Or does he support Trump, should he be the nominee, and alienate just about everybody else?

Sometime after the Republican National Convention in July Zinke is going to have to commit, one way or the other. The press should be asking, right now: “Will you support the Republican nominee for President?” I imagine Zinke will duck this question for as long as possible.

What a quandary. And I’m sure his Democratic opponent, Denise Juneau, awaits Zinke’s decision on Trump with bated breath.

I’m also betting that Democratic Sen. Jon Tester eagerly anticipates Zinke’s pronouncement since there are rumors that Zinke wants to challenge Tester in 2018. However Zinke decides, there’s going to be ammunition for any of his opponents.

This isn’t as big of an issue for Republican Sen. Steve Daines, who isn’t up for election until 2020. Still, sitting Senators almost always support the party’s presidential nominee. Daines had supported Sen. Marc Rubio but now what’s he going to do? At some point after July, he will have to respond to questions the press will (hopefully) ask. My guess is he will not support Trump as lots can happen in the four years before Daines is up for re-election, and the voters have short memories. It has the potential to erode some of his base, though, no matter what he does. Again, from the Times:

Republicans, who hold the Senate 54 to 46 and maintain control of the House by 30 seats, believe it would be essential for candidates running in diverse or comparatively affluent areas to break with Mr. Trump on matters of policy, and perhaps to denounce his nomination in blunt terms.

Montana isn’t particularly diverse or affluent but with the balance of Congress at stake, and possibly the outcome of future elections, Zinke and Daines must be feeling a bit anxious.

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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Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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