The wacky world of state senate candidate Theresa Manzella

It’s big guns and nail techs in the Bitterroot, starring candidate for Montana Senate District 44, Theresa Manzella.

It’s hardly a new twist in Montana: guns in political campaigns. Both sides of the aisle use guns for props. I particularly remember disgraced former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke auctioning off an AR-15 to advance his congressional candidacy.

I have never seen a candidate raffle off a rifle for yard sign locations, though. Dressed as an American flag with a Trump-Pence sign in the background, Manzella gives you 12 minutes of viewing pleasure. Check out this YouTube video titled, “Big Guns for Freedom.”

It co-stars Michelle Binckley, who is running to fill Manzella’s old Montana House seat: HD-85. Binckley faces three other candidates in the Republican primary election.

A more recent Manzella social media hit is a set-to with her manicurist, or nail technician as they’re referred to now. The Hamilton tech was following coronavirus protocol and keeping her shop closed. Manzella believes it’s an essential service, though, and searched for someone with fewer scruples to do her nails. Here’s a Facebook screenshot that started the fiasco.

Notice “emergency” — the quote marks indicating how seriously Manzella is taking the pandemic. She also continues to chastise the tech on social media.

The nail technician is taking it seriously, as Perry Backus of the Ravalli Republic reports.

She filed an ethics complaint against Manzella with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices. From the story:

In a statement Friday, Manzella maintained her post was intended as a “light-hearted plea for help” after her “nail lady” canceled her appointment due to the closures following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hamilton Republican also said she regretted making a subsequent post on the petitioner’s Facebook page calling her “a raging, unbalanced liberal.”

Janet Bierer, owner of Red’s Hair Salon and Consignment Boutique in Hamilton, didn’t see the original post as “light-hearted” but as offensive to people in her industry and also dangerous.

Manzella continued her harangue of Bierer, posting on the nail tech’s Facebook page and showing folks everything one needs to know about Manzella’s state of mind:

“Janet, honey … you sound like a raging, unbalanced liberal. I didn’t take you for one who would give up your rights and your livelyhood so easily … without question … because the Govornor cryed EMERGENCY and everyone said…’OH! OK! Let me close down my business and go broke whie you figure it out, oh Holy Monarch!’ If the Governor tells you to get on the train for the concentration camps, will you be obidient without question? How ’bout mandatory vaccines? Are you good with those too? Do you think it’s possible that I might….maybe…possibly…know things about the political landscape that you might not? Maybe? But ya know what…I can’t fight harder to save your business and livelyhood than you’re willing to fight for yourself….and it’s quite obvious you’re comfortable with socialism. So ENJOY it.”

It should be noted that in the COPP complaint, Bierer says, “I couldn’t be more conservative.”

I’ll have more on the SD-44 and HD-85 races in the near future as they’re shaping up to be barnburners. We’ll have to wait and see if Bitterrooters embarrass themselves again by putting Manzella back in the Montana Legislature.    

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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.


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  • I find it ironic that a self-proclaimed rugged individualist like Manzella can’t even do their own self-grooming, it’s almost as if these weak, wimpy, loudmouth Conservatives like her are 100% dependent on others to do anything and everything for them. lol!! Manzella is a true Free-dumb fighter all the way and has been gleefully goosestepping us further and further towards fascism while claiming she is some kind of super-patriot.

  • This is like a skit from SNL ! I’ve been involved in lots of raffles before. My question is “ how do they know who belongs to what ticket? “ I see no effort being made to determine that as they gleefully tear the tickets apart and place them unlabeled in the jar….

  • I was down in Bitterroot on Eastside Highway a couple days before the closures. I was stunned to see yard after yard for miles with huge Manzella signs. That whole area is pretty much 5 acres lots now days. From million dollar houses to older trailers had signs supporting her. I seen none for Nancy Ballance her opponent. Manzella is just like Trump she loves publicly either good or bad as keeps her name out there. Unfortunately I think she will win. Look for more dust ups from her.

  • Apparently intelligence and common sense are not necessary qualities for GOP candidates. This one can’t spell either – I counted at least half a dozen misspellings that a third-grader wouldn’t have done!

    I sure hope the voters in Manzella’s district wake up and realize they can do a WHOLE lot better than this ignorant, ranting third-rate candidate.

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