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.
Among 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.