Russ Fagg’s Tone Deaf, Inept Campaign Continues As He Touts D.C. Lobbyists as Real Montanans

It’s been a rough go for Russ Fagg, the Billings judge who left a backlog of 1,100 cases in Yellowstone County to launch a quixotic bid for the US Senate. His campaign opened with probable violations of federal election laws while he campaigned and raised money before declaring himself a candidate, continued as he worked as a sitting judge while making nakedly partisan and political statements, and culminated in an event in Bozeman so sparsely attended that he had to beg the reporter not to tell the truth about a crowd numbered in the single digits.

Rough. And it’s only gotten worse, as Fagg has seen the new, right-wing Republican establishment coalesce around his opponent, faith healer Matt Rosendale. Today, hoping to cast aspersions on Rosendale’s momentum, Fagg issued a tone-deaf tweet about the nature of his support:

A little context about these “people of Montana” and “respected MT leaders” is in order.

Stan Stephens was last in public office in 1993, twenty-four years ago. Judy Martz was last in office in 2001, sixteen years ago. And those are his best “Montana” endorsements.

Marc Racicot, who was last in office in Montana in 2001, is described like this on his Wikipedia page:

American attorney, lobbyist, politician and member of the Republican Party who served as the 21st Governor of Montana from 1993 until 2001.[1] After leaving office, Racicot worked as a lobbyist for the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani. His notable clients included EnronBurlington Northern Santa Fe, and the Recording Industry Association of America

In addition to his lobbying work for the modern model of corporate corruption in Enron and his work lobbying for a group that sued grandmothers for downloading MP3s, Racicot later served as the President of the American Insurance Association, a collection of insurance lobbying firms. Talk about a Montana endorsement!

Fagg also mentions Dennis Rehberg, who after his entirely undistinguished tenure in Congress, turned to lobbying as well. Fulfilling a lifelong dream (and I am not making that up), Rehberg transitioned from the Congress immediately into a role as the co-chair of Mercury, a D.C. lobbying firm. Let’s not also forget that Rehberg sued Billings firefighters for trying to save his land, called Pell Grants welfare, and despite having a personal wealth of between $6.5 and $54 million, told Montanans he was “cash-poor” and “struggling like everyone else.”

There’s nothing more entertaining than watching Montana Republicans talk about their disdain for D.C. It’s farcical, as most of them turn right back into the swamp the minute they escape Montana and public eye. For Russ Fagg to hold up a collection of D.C. lobbyists and millionaires as his voices of the “people of Montana” is as absurd as his year-long lie that he wasn’t running for office. He sure won’t be representing us.

I’m not sure I need to even say that Russ Fagg is a terrible candidate for the US Senate. He’s doing a fine job of that himself.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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