Montana Politics Steve Bullock

Midweek musings: R.I.P. Mike Fellows and some other updates

Mike Fellows was a true believer. I remember him sitting alone in his booth in the Commercial Building at the Western Montana Fair hawking Libertarian literature. Or doing his public access Libertarian TV show on MCAT. Or seeing his name on the ballot every two years since 1996 as the Libertarian candidate for some statewide office.

Although I don’t know the source, this quote has been attributed to Mike: “I just want gay married couples to be able to protect their marijuana plants with guns.”

There are some aspects of the Libertarian philosophy I embrace. Most I do not, and Mike and I had our disagreements, but no one could ever accuse him of waffling on the issues. And with me, he was always civil.

He died Monday night in a car wreck returning from a candidate forum in Seeley Lake. Here’s the story.

Mike contributed mightily to the democratic (that’s small ‘d’) debate and will be missed on the stage of political discourse.

Just up the road the following evening in Condon was a community forum on public lands hosted by state Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R-Thompson Falls) and state Rep. Kerry White (R-Bozeman). I wrote about it here. I received a comment on that post this morning from ‘Dan’ who wrote this about the forum:

Last night was a parade of lies, half truths, and twisted science combined with poor math. The crowd was openly opposed to and hostile to the snake oil hawkers. The best response came from Montana State Senator Sue Malek who politely welcomed White and Fielder to her district and proceeded to embarrass Fielder for misrepresenting the actions of the Senate and finished with a flourish by stating that she was going to fight Fielder and White on this issue every step of way. The crowd loved it. Malek clearly came prepared with facts about Fielder’s legislative record. Fielder had no response, and really did not seem particularly bothered to be called out for lying to the public. I learned years ago that public meetings at the Condon Community Hall are always a good show and last night kept that tradition alive.

I should have been there last night — so many political events; so little time — and I await other reports. (Full disclosure: this is also a plug for Sen. Malek. I am actively campaigning for her re-election.) UPDATE: The Missoulian’s Rob Chaney has a balanced piece on the forum. I appreciate a reporter who fact checks statements made by various organizations’ spokesmen and women, and by elected officials.

In the governor’s race, some bad news for Greg Gianforte. The Bozeman Chronicle reports that Gov. Steve Bullock is the fourth most popular governor in the U.S. with an approval rating of 66 percent, and he’s the most popular Democratic governor in the nation. Here are the ratings.

(Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, “who has pretty much demolished his state by turning it into a lab rat for every crackpot notion that Arthur Laffer ever had,” to quote Esquire, is the least popular with a 23 percent approval rating.)

I find it hard to believe that an incumbent governor with a 66 percent approval rating is going to lose. Logcosity thinks it’s going to be a close race. But the author of the post points out that in the last 60 years, every incumbent governor who ran for a second term has won. Smart money is on Bullock.




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  • I agree with Dans synopsis of the meeting in Condon last night. However, the crowd was not hostile, just many well informed people who were not buying her pretty, fluff presentation.

  • Bullock’s approval rating increased from 61 to 66 percent over the last three months. The Chronicle’s 406 blog reports the margin of error is six percent, so the sample was small, in the neighborhood of 260. The increase is as important as the absolute number and is good news for Bullock.

    Hillary Clinton, not Greg Gianforte, may be Bullock’s biggest problem. She’s losing ground. If Trump carries Montana with 60 percent or more, he may help GG and other statewide Republicans.

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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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