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2020 Governor Featured Greg Gianforte Montana Politics Tim Fox

The Desperate Tim Fox Campaign’s Attacks Don’t Seem to Be Working

Despite some empty words about not being mean to one another during the primary, the gloves seem to be off in the GOP race for governor, and his attacks against Greg Gianforte don’t seem to be working for Attorney General Tim Fox.

On Friday evening, Fox posted a brief video ad on his Facebook page calling Greg Gianforte “a phony,” using the metric of those ridiculous conservative scorecards we debunked earlier in the week as evidence.

And the response was not what Fox hoped for.

Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 10.28.56 AMAmong the dozens of critical responses from Republicans were criticisms from former legislator Adam Hertz, who wrote, “Ads like this reek of desperation and will only damage both of you in 2020,” and current legislator and conspiracy theorist Barry Usher, who wrote, “Wow why do Republicans always beat each other up.”

And those were among the nicest comments. Others included these gems:

  • This rant is truly garbage I have meet and visited with him and his wife, really good people. This is beneath you Tim Fox.
  • Timmy, Timmy, Timmy, my oh my the mud slinging is starting already? Show us what you have to offer and we’ll make a decision.
  • You have lost my support. You are sounding like Bullock.
  • You know Tim Fox I would be quite a lot more reserved about trying to defimate an opponent. You and the rest of the Republican Field for governor should be talking about issues you support and those you don’t not slinging dirt on an opponent.
  • Tim Fox you just lost my vote. I understand that this is an election but this post is the garbage spouted by the left.
  • Tim Fox, You just lost my vote with your negative adds, chock one up for Congressman Greg Gianforte.

Now, I can’t begin to process the thinking of people who either believe that Greg Gianforte is principled or who believe a Glenn Beck-produced scorecard is “spouted by the left,” but the fact that the responses to this ad were overwhelmingly negative highlight the challenge Fox will face in the primary: he has to attack Gianforte to establish himself as a conservative, but if he attacks, it will just alienate Republican voters.

Republican voters don’t trust that Fox is a conservative and they aren’t discerning enough readers to evaluate actual evidence without flying off the handle.

Short of assaulting a reporter and fencing off public lands, it’s hard to see how Fox can win enough votes in an increasingly conservative and irrational Republican primary electorate to even challenge Gianforte.  Those Gianforte-led efforts to strong-arm Fox out of the race might start looking pretty damn appealing soon.

Even if he is a phony.

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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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  • Perhaps it might be worthwhile if more than a few folks, who vote Blue, cross over and vote for Fox on the GOP ballot in next year’s primary . Who would Democrats rather see representing the GOP next November as the candidate for Governor–the devil we know, or the fellow who is desperately trying to convince GOP voters that he’s an even bigger devil? Admittedly, not good choices.

  • I did learn a new word from this post: “defimate.” While I can’t find it in any dictionary, it has a nice ring to it, and I plan to use it as I see fit.

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