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2020 House Race 2020 Tier B Races Corey Stapleton Featured Matt Rosendale Montana Politics

Corey Stapleton Bravely Retreats into the Race for the U.S. House Seat

Cartoon by John Moore

Setting up a very likely rematch with State Auditor Matt Rosendale, Corey Stapleton announced today that is very bravely going to retreat from his bid for governor in order to lose a race for the U.S. House.  We called Stapleton’s retreat a few months ago but assumed it would be into incumbency and another bid for Secretary of State, but perhaps even Stapleton realized that the only body in the country that celebrates his brand of incompetence is the U.S. House.

After all, if Montana Republicans have demonstrated they’re willing to elect someone who assaulted a reporter, surely they’d be willing to support someone who has used his office to promote himself while making embarrassing mistake after embarrassing mistake.

I will say this for Stapleton, though. Inept as he has proven himself to be in the Secretary of State’s office, this was a savvy move. He had no chance in a Republican primary against Tim Fox, much less Tim Fox and Greg Gianforte, so the move to the House race offers him at least the prospect of a less humiliating defeat before he seeks another office in a few years.

As much as I am looking forward to the bloody primary between Fox and Gianforte, I might relish the prospect of the likely Rosendale-Stapleton battle even more. Watching this pair of AA prospects scrap and battle each other to reach the big leagues offers the prospect of a wildly entertaining spectacle. The right-wing Club for Growth which bankrolled Rosendale’s campaign for Senate already came out swinging against Stapleton, echoing a number of same claims we’ve made against him:

“From ethics violations to his spending, pay raise, and expensive mistakes, Corey Stapleton has already cost Montana enough, and he would make a poor candidate for the Montana U.S. House Republican nomination,” said David McIntosh, Club for Growth Action Montana’s President. “We will actively oppose Stapleton’s U.S. House candidacy and are prepared to immediately go live with a major advertising campaign highlighting his record.”

Hell, they even cited our coverage of his expenditures.

It’s going to get deliciously, stupidly ugly, folks.

Finally, if Montana Republicans are truly foolish enough to give Democrats open seats at the Secretary of State, State Auditor, and the US House at once, we better the hell seize this opportunity and run far more aggressive campaigns than we did in 2016.

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.

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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  • As incompetent as Stapleton has been in his job he is taking a page from the Trump playbook. Keep your name in front of the press no matter good or bad. People remember your name not so much your errors. Stapleton has some big name long time Montana GOP behind him. It will be interesting to watch Rosendale and Stapleton fumble around till next June. But in the end they both have that big red R behind their name and that is all that matters in this now very red state.

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