Were it not so troubling, it would almost be comical to consider just how bad the Republican candidates for Secretary of State are, something they seem inclined to prove at every opportunity.
In just the past few weeks, one candidate currently working in the office misused state time and resources to promote her candidacy and another came out in support of voter suppression.
The first case is almost impossible to believe. Assistant Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen misused state time by promoting her candidacy for office on a workday. According to a complaint filed by the Montana Democratic Party and a news report from KVGO, Jacobsen touted Stapleton’s endorsement and her own candidacy when she filed for office.
Just months after her boss accepted a fine for misusing state resources for his own candidacy and faced public condemnation blatant misuse of a state vehicle, Jacobsen somehow lacked the good sense to conduct personal campaigning on her own time.
It’s hard to understand how someone who lacks that basic understanding of election law believes she is qualified to be Secretary of State, but I suppose it makes sense that Stapleton has endorsed her as his successor.
Not to be outdone, noted enthusiast of white supremacist candidates for the Legislature Forrest Mandeville released a campaign ad on Facebook touting his support for voter suppression.
While Montana has enjoyed largely trouble-free same-day voter registration since 2006, a group of Republicans that includes Mandeville has been committed to making more difficult for Montanans to vote.
It’s telling that the top priority for a Republican running to oversee Montana elections isn’t expanding opportunities for Native American voters or outreach to young people to make them lifelong voters, but making voting more difficult for all of us.
While there may not have been any new embarrassments for the third candidate, Scott Sales, his record in the Legislature offers more than ample evidence that he lacks the judgment necessary for the position.
And we let you know a few weeks ago about the latest entrant into the race, Bowen Greenwood, someone who has tried to make the workings of the Supreme Court partisan.
Montanans are going to have a lot of opportunities to restore professionalism and competence to statewide offices in 2020, and electing Bryce Bennett–someone who believes in voting rights and integrity and someone who has devoted his political and professional life to increasing voter engagement–is the only way we can erase the stain of Corey Stapleton’s partisan, incompetent tenure as Secretary.
Montanans may not always understand the inner workings and responsibilities of the statewide elected offices, but we all can agree that all demand professionalism and competence.
The Republican candidates have demonstrated that they aren’t capable of either. Let’s throw our support behind Bryce Bennett today to make sure that our candidate is ready to take on whichever deeply-flawed candidate comes out of the Republican primary.
The integrity of our election system depends on it.
Edited: Added a paragraph about Bowen Greenwood that was dropped in edits.