A study in Green

If I was in a leadership position at the Montana Democratic Party, I wouldn’t challenge the Green Party petitions handed in at the Montana Secretary of State’s office. That’s why I’m not in a leadership position at the Montana Democratic Party — supposedly all’s fair in love, war and politics.

I prefer to let issues and candidates speak for themselves, and let voters decide what’s best for them and the city, state, country and world in which they live. Hopelessly naive, I know.

When the Green Party received ballot status on March 15, I wrote this on a related Facebook site:

Congratulation Greens. Although I am an activist in the Montana Democratic Party and particularly the Montana Progressive Democrats, I have a fondness for third parties. I wish we had a different electoral system with stronger third parties and more of them. That being said, please pick your races carefully. If there is a strong candidate running for a seat who shares your values and will work to advance your agenda, please consider not splitting the vote, thereby allowing a regressive Republican to win that seat. If we had a parliamentary system of government where coalitions were built by like-minded groups, I wouldn’t offer this advice. We don’t. At this point, it’s basically a two-party, winner-take-all system and we all need to be strategic. 

But the Green Party was hardly strategic. It must also have a circus-sized tent.

On strategy: two Green Party candidates filed, at $1740 a pop, to run against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. Steve Kelly is one and his Green credentials are bona fide, although he ran as a Democrat and Independent in past elections. The other candidate is Tim Adams, a former GOP payee and also anti-6-mill levy activist, i.e.: he opposes funding Montana’s college and university system. And according an Associated Press story, “(Adams) filed to run as a Libertarian candidate in a state House race in 2012, but later withdrew.”

For another strategic blunder consider Missoula’s SD-49 where noted gadfly Greg Strandberg filed as a Green against incumbent Democrat Diane Sands. Sands has a 100% Montana Conservation Voters score from the 2017 legislative session and a lifetime score of 97%. As for Strandberg, the first post I’ve ever seen him write on the environment was shortly after he filed as the Green Party candidate, and he has written a lot of posts over the years, mostly disparaging Democrats.

The Bitterroot’s HD-85 is even more bizarre. That’s Republican Theresa Manzella’s district. John Gibney filed as a Green Party candidate there. On immigration and former President Barrack Obama, he’s quoted as saying “There’s a right way and they’re doing it in the wrong way, and our black Muslim president is trying to bring this country down.” And at a Missoula anti-immigration rally Gibney held a sign that read “They rape, kill, destroy.” His wife had a sign that read “They hate Christians, Jews, women, gays.” Another indicator of his political leanings can be found on his Facebook page: Gibney reposts Alex Jones of “Info Wars” fame.

Green Party leadership has denounced Gibney’s candidacy but seems to be supporting Adam’s and Strandberg’s legitimacy as Green Party candidates.

Flathead Memo has some analysis on how the Green vote affects elections.

I realize the Green Party has no control over who files under its party banner, and granted, the two major parties have from time-to-time fielded some less than legitimate candidates, but this rollout of the Green Party in 2018 should have the voters scratching their heads. Again, from the AP story:

Green Party officials blasted an email that morning (the day of the filing deadline) to solicit candidates who could register by the day’s end.

This doesn’t seem to be the best model for recruiting candidates. When three of the six who filed have little in the way of Green Party values, one has to question the role of the party in electoral politics.






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.

Subscribe to our posts

About the author

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.

Latest PostCast

Support Our Work!

Subscribe Via E-mail


Which Democratic Candidate for Governor Do You Support Today?

Send this to a friend