Forrest Mandeville Offers Another Troubling Endorsement, This Time to Militia-Supporting Theresa Manzella for SD 44

It seems the self-proclaimed “Donald Trump of Ravalli County,” Theresa Manzella, has decided to run for Senate District 44 to, in her words, offer “honest, principled, conservative Republican, over an unpredictable, tax and spend, moderate who voted with the Democrats.”

She’s already put together a lengthy list of endorsements, largely a who’s who of the rabid right-wing in Montana, from racist Senator David Howard to Greg Gianforte apologist Matthew Monforton, from Confederate enthusiast Derek Skees to public schools opponent Greg DeVries, but the most endorsement that stands out the most is that of newly-announced Secretary of State candidate Forrest Mandeville.

As we pointed out earlier this week, Mandeville has a bad habit of supporting terrible candidates for the Legislature. In 2016, he donated to two white supremacists who brought embarrassment to the state and the Republican Party.

And now he’s endorsing Manzella, who has to be one of the least qualified people ever to serve in the Montana Legislature, someone whose frankly idiotic and patently dangerous views include support for armed insurrection against the federal government, opposition to vaccination, support for the Confederacy, the transfer and sales of our public lands, and horrifically dishonest and xenophobic attacks on refugees.

Mandeville has served with Manzella in the Legislature for three legislative sessions and certainly must know and understand her views. Given his choices—to donate to white supremacists and to endorse a dimwitted bigot—he may just be the only candidate running for Secretary of State who could be worse than the current occupant of the office.

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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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  • I noticed the large cross that she is wearing. I wonder if she has read and understands the teachings of Christ who is on the Cross.
    For example, she attacks refugees, does she not know what Christ said, “and the second is like the first, LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF”.
    We cannot allow conservatives the luxury of saying that they support the Bible, but do not follow it. We must make them state why they can’t follow the simply stated teachings of Christ.

  • All I needed to see was the first sentence. You’re worst than ever, she is not the person who proclaimed Theresa “The Donald Trump of Ravalli County”.

    Of course who would expect a hack like you to do research.

    • From her announcement:
      I was elected by Republicans across the state of Montana to lead the delegation to the RNC in 2016 which was ultimately the first step in the election of President Trump and getting our county back on the right track. I’ve been dubbed the “Donald Trump of Ravalli County” by Democrats for my candid, straight talk; which is something I embrace.

      Other people called her that, she proudly took it as a description of herself.

  • This election will speak volumes about the voters of Ravalli County. Conservative Republicans in the Bitterroot — Nancy Ballance and Fred Thomas, for example — are under attack from folks who are even farther to the right, if you can believe that.
    The Montana Free Press has a fascinating article on where out-of-staters are settling. Sure, Bozeman, Missoula and other hip, scenic hotspots are seeing some serious growth, but it’s the blood red counties like Sanders and Ravalli that are really taking off. Cousins marrying cousins and moving to rural Montana. We’ll see if the locals in those counties, what few are left, support the militia-loving, anti-science, anti-government candidates like Manzella and Sanders County’s Jennifer Fielder in 2020.
    It will be a sad comment if Montanans believe this is the direction our state needs to go.

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