Trump is coming to Montana for an unprecedented fourth time in as many months. It’s the new job description for a president: fly around the country on the taxpayer’s dime promoting sycophant candidates. This time it’s Bozeman but details are scarce. Give him the reception he deserves, Bozmaniacs. If this isn’t malfeasance in office, please give me the definition.
Stapleton’s very bad month
It started with the Montana Secretary of State’s office printing 466,000 2018 general election information pamphlets at a cost of $57,784. Each of Montana’s 56 counties was then responsible for mailing them to voters. Unfortunately, language in two of the ballot initiatives, I-185 and I-186, wasn’t correctly updated. So, off to the print shop again this time for 471,000 9″ x 12″ cards with accurate information — total cost, with postage, $265,000. The state (read you and me, again) paid for the mailing and printing.
And who got the job? None other than SOS Corey Stapleton’s buddy Jake Eaton. The bids went out to four firms; one (maybe more) of them out-of-state. An Arizona company submitted the lowest bid but according to Stapleton, time was of the essence, so he went with Eaton’s print shop. I know of two firms in Missoula that could have done the job so I’m guessing there are a dozen or so in Montana besides Stapleton’s friend’s business.
Eaton, by the way, is the former executive director of the Montana Republican Party. He bought the firm that printed and mailed the pamphlets, Ultra Graphics, in 2012.
The Associated Press has more details.
There’s also Stapleton hiring Eaton’s wife as the lead attorney in the lawsuit filed by the Montana Democratic Party over the Green Party’s ballot status in the November election. Price: nearly $60,000. Don Pogreba and Montana Public Radio offer more on the story.
UPDATE: There’s a family feud in progress between Attorney General Tim Fox and Stapleton, both Republicans. Fox said Stapleton “made a political decision to needlessly spend $60,000…” and Stapleton fired back, saying Fox “wanted to roll over” in the Democratic Party’s lawsuit. Does this portend a possible future showdown, perhaps in a 2020 gubernatorial primary?
GOP in need of a proofreader
Copyediting gaffes seem to to be contagious this election cycle. The Republican National Committee sent out mailers encouraging people to vote and, “information about absentee voting incorrectly said absentee ballots would be accepted up to 10 days after the election if they were postmarked the day before.” Just about everyone with an iota of election knowledge knows this isn’t true.
How many of the cards and to whom has not been released by the RNC. The Billings Gazette has the story.
More GOP talking points
The procession of Central Americans heading north has Republicans exploiting their base. From Trump: “I promise you I will stop the caravan of over 7,000 illegal immigrants marching toward our border.” Media have put the number at closer to 5,000, but whatever.
Montana Republican Chairman (not woman) Debra Lamm, chimed in with “a caravan of illegal immigrants, fueled by the Left’s open border rhetoric are on their way to the U.S. If this is left up to a Democrat majority, led by Jon Tester and Chuck Schumer, these illegal immigrants will be let in and given instant access to tax-payer funded benefits.” (Bold copy and italics are Debra’s.)
Sen. Steve Daines joined the fray with: “Do you support enforcing the rule of law and preventing the migrant caravan from entering our country?” Which “rule of law” is that, Steve? Here’s the basic one on immigration.
Lamm wraps up with a plea for donations to “fight off the liberal mob.” That would be us, also known as the “radical left” (Rep. Steve Scalise), “radical liberals” (Rep. Ron DeSantis), “liberal elites” (Don Jr.) and “the left-wing mob” (Rep. Devin Nunes).
As I’ve mentioned before, I signed up at Rep. Greg Gianforte’s site for alerts when he was running for governor and then representative. I just wanted to know what he was up to. He passed my contact info to other right-wing campaigns and I get an average of 25 email notices a day. Perhaps worse, though, is the email I get from Trump since I signed up for tickets to his rally in Missoula. I wake up to about a dozen email requests a day asking for donations, or that are hawking MAGA hats, t-shits, medallions and buttons. I also get a few texts a day from Trump Headquarters. That’ll teach me.
Here’s some other red meat from Trump:
“We’ve never seen so much venom and nastiness, and it’s time to act,” said Trump, followed by, “The Fake News Media at CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and the New York Times, the Hollywood Elite like Rosie O’Donnell and Sean Astin, the Liberals led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi – they’re all foaming at the mouth. It’s ridiculous!”
It’s an endless list of hyperbole, but you get the point.
Montana Republicans side with big tobacco
Even some moderate Republicans who supported Medicaid expansion in the state legislature last session are shying away from I-185. They say it should be fixed in the next legislative session.
But then these same moderates say there’s no guarantee that will happen. From MTN’s Mike Dennison:
Even some of the Republicans opposing I-185 and supporting Medicaid expansion acknowledged that if I-185 fails, there’s no guarantee the program would be extended at all … (and supports of the initiative) told MTN News they’re not confident that enough Republicans would agree to extend the program at all – and that’s why they chose to ask voters to do it instead, with I-185.
Big tobacco’s $17.5 million media blitz against I-185 is paying dividends. A recent poll had a .6 point spread:
The poll, conducted by mail in late September and early October, said 41.4% of registered Montana voters support Initiative 185, 40.8% oppose it and 17.3% are unsure.
Heaven forbid that Montanans with modest incomes get access to affordable health care.