Montana Politics

Election Night Live Blog and Predictions


Election Night Updates!

As the evening progresses, check in tonight for updates about elections results from across the country and state here. I’ll try, with varying degrees of snark and optimism, to offer updates from a variety of sources as our long national nightmare comes to and end (hopefully) this evening.

For more concise updates, consider following me on Twitter at @dpogreba or by simply visiting this page which will have an updated Twitter feed:


Nationally, I feel confident that my country will not elect Donald Trump. I guess I am supposed to write something about how we should all respect each other’s choices before the election. I could have done that for Romney or McCain, as little as I agreed with their policies.

I simply cannot take that position with Donald Trump. There is no defense for voting for him. He’s a crude, ignorant, bullying wannabe fascist who poses a threat to the very foundations of our democracy and the safety of millions of people.

For the sake of the republic, I hope the GOP gets its act together and drives out the likes of Donald Trump. If any of you vote for him tomorrow, I’m hard-pressed to understand what values could possibly have led to that decision.

In the end, I would guess that Hillary Clinton wins 294 Electoral votes and about 47% of the popular vote.


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I think Democrats will at least get to 50 seats in the Senate, too.

Back in Montana, I am feeling a lot less confident about Democratic chances. I have some theories about why these races are going to break the way I suspect they will—and will write that long post tomorrow—but I suspect Republicans will win most of the statewide races in the state.

Governor: By a margin far narrower than I’d like, Governor Bullock will win re-election, but I suspect we may not know that result until Wednesday. It’s going to be close. The combination of limitless personal cash and xenophobia is a potent one, and Greg Gianforte will get closer in this race than he should.

Tier B Races: I think Democrats will lose three or four of these races. Tim Fox will certainly win re-election, and at least two of Matt Rosendale, Elsie Arntzen, and Corey Stapleton will win. Melissa Romano seems most likely to pull a win out in her race, but I could easily see a Republican sweep here. If anything illustrates the absence of a vibrant political press in this state, it’s been the coverage of these races, in which most voters will go to the polls with almost no independent information to guide their choices. And only low-information could explain voters choosing Matt Rosendale, who doesn’t even understand the duties of the job he’s running for.

Supreme Court: Dirk Sandefur will win election, despite the dirty, dishonest campaign run by Kristin Juras and her surrogates.

House: This prediction pains me the most, but I think Congressman Ryan Zinke will win re-election tonight. This is no slight to the Juneau campaign or Ms. Juneau herself, as I think they have run a model campaign against an incumbent. The race will be closer than anyone could have predicted a year ago, and Ms. Juneau has shown her chops as an excellent candidate, but the weight of incumbency and the kid gloves treatment Zinke receives from the Montana press will carry him to a win.

On the initiatives, I think

  • CI-116 will pass (and it shouldn’t)
  • I-177 will fail (and it shouldn’t)
  • I-181 will fail (and it should)
  • I-182 will fail (and it shouldn’t)

Prove Me Wrong!

I’m a pessimist. And worried about the direction of my state. I hope that I am wrong about Juneau and the Tier B races, but there’s only one way to prove me wrong at this point. Get out and vote for candidates like Jesse Laslovich, Monica Lindeen, Melissa Romano and Denise Juneau, candidates who represent a hopeful and positive vision for our state.

And grab your friends and get them to the polls as well. They can still register and vote today.

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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  • Predicted winners: Bullock, Zinke, Sandefur, and Stapleton

    Toss-ups: Laslovich/Rosendale and Romano/Arntzen

    People need to get out vote. Laslovich and Romano will be decided by a small margin.

  • Laslovich and Romano have outspent and outworked their opponents. They’re also both more qualified, especially Laslovich. They both also received major endorsements in papers. Going into this final week, the Party “machine” should be/should have been pushing these two future leaders in the Democratic Party (again, especially Jesse).

  • Some last minute thoughts: As goes Billings, so goes Montana. Demographically, the Magic City provides probably the best indicator of how the rest of the state votes. It has agriculture, energy and industry interests, but also a host of young professionals, educators and more-and-more progressive activists (Sanders grabbed 45% of Yellowstone County Dem. voters in the primary).

    Trump got more votes in the county than all Democratic candidates combined, however, but we’ve known for a while that Trump would take the state. (Pathetic!) How this translates in down-ticket races is a big question mark.

    Missoula may hold the key. Early voting has been strong and I saw canvassers out pounding on doors today as I cruised through some neighborhoods. Big turnout here and we hold or pick up seats. Without it, Dems are in trouble.

    Tribal turnout will be a critical factor, too.

  • Heavy voting in Kalispell today, and there’s still a line of people stretching outside the building at the elections department. Local Dems have been knocking on doors and working the phones in last minute attempts to pester people into voting. At the fairgrounds, Republicans waved for honks.

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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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