Montanans expect a lot of those they elect. When I was a kid I remember meeting Max Baucus about 10 times. He even had a one-on-one conversation with me in high school that inspired me to be active in Montana politics. I went to the Capitol and met the governor in the 90’s and I remember shaking Conrad Burns hand at MSU and eating a monster cookie at some ribbon cutting he spoke at.
These are not uncommon experiences for any Montana. Everyone has met Senator Tester and Governor Bullock. They travel the state endlessly and they speak to anyone, anywhere, anytime. This is expected, it’s nice of them, but we want to know our leaders and expect them to answer the tough questions when we ask.
This leads us to the congressional race. Montana is the most populous congressional district in the nation and the second largest by size after Alaska. Much of Alaska has no roads and very few people, so it’s probably fair to say that the race for Montana’s house representative is one of the toughest, if not the toughest congressional race to win in the nation. The miles you have to put in are endless and you run into a lot of folks who disagree with you, no matter where you go.
The consensus on why Kathleen Williams won the primary is that she got out, traveled the back roads and met Montanans face-to-face in their communities. Rob Quist tells the story of when he met her at the Teton County Beef and Barley dinner in the primary. He says she was talking to voters until the room was empty and she was the last person in the room. Rob Quist knows a thing or two about traveling the back roads and talking to voters.
This experience impressed Rob Quist so much that he told me last week that:
Kathleen Williams is the perfect person to serve Montana. No one is more qualified, driven, and she has the desire to work for the people. This is the most important election of my lifetime and that’s why I endorse Kathleen Williams.
On the other hand, you have that other guy, Greg Gianforte. I could recount any number of his faults, but the fault that may just swing the election in favor of Kathleen Williams is that he refuses to meet with Montanans.
Kathleen is at every event, traveling non-stop. I heard she is even visiting Lincoln County up in Northwestern Montana in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, listen to what Montanans have to say about Greg Gianforte’s accessibility and openness.