Montana Politics Ryan Zinke Steve Bullock

Quick Takes redux: Zinke, polls and Juras

Zinke still selling SEALs

I’m not sure when Rep. Ryan Zinke started this promotion. There is no date for the drawing. However, I did enter to win “a special Navy SEAL battle flag signed by Ryan and fellow former Seal Team Six member Robert O’Neill.” The flag is click bait to get you to donate to the Zinke campaign, and to end terrorism as we know it. From the promo:

The failed foreign policy of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton brought us ISIS. Now Obama wants to make her, the architect of Benghazi, president. Not on our watch. Join Ryan to fight back against Hillary Clinton and her liberal allies to make America safe again.

Sounds an awful lot like something The Donald would say.

I hold no animosity toward Navy SEALs, but if Zinke has any other credentials for serving as Montana’s sole congressperson, please let me know in the comment section below.

Screw the polls and get to work

After four delicious days in a log cabin on the Gallatin River with no Internet or cell phone service, I returned to find Lee Enterprises’ biennial election poll. It was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, and at first blush, was quite depressing: Trump up by 10 points, Zinke by 13, Bullock has a “slight lead,” Romano trailing Arntzen and Sandefur/Juras “too close to call.” I assume polling on other races will trickle out over the next week.

The silver lining? The undecideds. In the Sandefur/Juras race it’s 39 percent. THIRTY-NINE PERCENT! The other races range from six percent to 24 percent. A six percent swing could be the difference in many of these races.

So get out there and talk to your family, friends and neighbors. Knock some doors, make some calls, drop some lit. Register voters, make sure those mail-in ballots are mailed in, drive someone to the polls. It ain’t over yet.

Three strikes and you’re out

With more-and-more press coming out on Montana Supreme Court candidate Kristen Juras, and with 39 percent undecided, this should be a cake walk for Judge Dirk Sandefur. But it isn’t, so in case you missed it:

The Great Falls Tribune and Montana Cowgirl reported on a Juras contribution to SafeMontana, the anti-medical marijuana backers. This is egregious since there’s a good chance Montana marijuana laws will end up being decided by the state’s highest court.

(Two quick asides on the medical marijuana initiative. Another funder was Billings legislative candidate Robert “Only the Rich Should Hold Office” Saunders. The biggest funder was the anti-pot sponsor, Billings’ Steve Zabawa. This guy is a piece of … work.)

Juras is also hot to trot on religious freedom cases that might appear before Montana’s highest court. This worries the hell out of anti-discrimination advocates as “religious freedom” translates to the far right as allowing folks to discriminate against the LGBTQ community in everything others take for granted — from jobs to housing to buying a wedding cake.

The latest was Juras’ opposition to what I call dignity in dying. Also known as aid-in-dying for the terminally ill, Juras obviously favors suffering over other end-of-life options. This passionate letter in the Billings Gazette lays it all out.



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  • Pete, With Hillary now a shoo-in for president, are you willing to vote for Stein-Baraka to build the Green Party as a real alternative to the Duopoly? I think you once hinted that you might.

    • That’s a tough question, Turner. I was a Bernie supporter from the get-go. I don’t share the view that Hillary is evil incarnate, however, and although I like much of Stein’s agenda, we need someone with the experience to navigate the executive branch.

      So, at this point, I’m leaning Hillary. If she gets a mandate, she may trend left, especially if we can pick up some Democratic House and Senate seats. Maybe run Elizabeth Warren in four years?

      Right now, I’m more concerned with Montana races. We could turn into another Kansas, or Wyoming or Idaho, with the far right controlling the legislative, executive and judicial branches. Now that scares the crap out of me.

      • Why, if she gets a big win, would she move leftward? She’d perceive it as a mandate to continue her push for a broader war in the middle east, more protection of Wall Street crooks, more fracking, and brinksmanship with Russia that could lead to WW3. I’d like to see her inevitable win be a close one, so she has to worry about her power being eroded from the left, which means the Green Party right now.

        • You raise a valid point, Turner. I’m hoping, though, that she’s doing what most Democratic candidates do: move to the right, or at least the center, during the general election campaign and then tack left after the election.

          As to your statement, “… so she has to worry about her power being eroded from the left, which means the Green Party right now.” I hope the left does put pressure on her but I would venture that it will come more from left-leaning Democrats than the Green Party. There are still a few of us lefty Democrats around. 🙂

  • More than a hint. Muste, the UM political scientest introduced in paragraph #3 of the over 50 column inch Missoulian front page story on Juras-Sandefur M-D Poll, in paragraph #16 claims most of the undecided for Juras or for Sandefur, identify as Republican.
    The story cites how negative campaigns do work, how much PAC money is not disclosed until after the Election, and concludes with this teaser: “Voters are frustrated and angry. A negative campaign is more likely to resonate with that.”
    What’s the bottom line?
    Spend more PAC money and elect Juras?

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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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