All week, the Montana Republican Party—the party that brought “corporations are people” and the Citizens United decision to our country—have been flopping like the world’s least ethical soccer player trying to score a penalty, crying about an independent expenditure that accurately depicts Steve Daines’s record of voting against Montana workers.
It’s a disingenuous performance from a party whose leadership believes that elections should be bought by the highest bidder. It’s also breathtakingly hypocritical.
Witness this ad that appeared in my Facebook feed today, purporting to support Green Party candidate Wendie Frederickson for the U.S. Senate. Paid for by “Go Green Montana PAC,” the ad suggests that voters can “support the green party agenda” by voting for Frederickson, who is as much a member of the Green Party as Matt Rosendale is a rancher.
It makes sense that the PAC is pushing this candidacy. Frederickson has a primary opponent in the race, Dennis Daneke, who entered the race because he knows that Frederickson is only running to hurt Governor Bullock in the general election. From KTVH:
Daneke told MTN News that on March 9, the last day of candidate filing, a Democratic friend called and told him that Republicans had recruited a Green Party candidate in the Senate race, with the intent to hurt Bullock.
I later received a quote from Daneke, who noted he is running to prevent dark money operatives from exploiting the Green Party ballot line:
I got into this so that Dark Money operatives wouldn’t have free reign to use Green Party values to serve their corporate agenda. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’re seeing here,” said Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate Dennis Daneke. “Green Party voters — don’t be fooled.”
The Montana Green Party has also disavowed the signature collection that got them on the 2020 ballot, a story we were the first to break in February.
It’s clear what Republican operatives are hoping for here: to get Frederickson on the ballot to siphon votes away from Bullock and, perhaps more importantly, potentially use a debate stage to make wild, unsubstantiated accusations about his tenure as governor.
Frederickson, who filed moments after Secretary of State Corey Stapleton approved the Green Party ballot line again, has no discernible web presence and a Facebook page that contains two pictures, both posted on April 30. She also has a personal grudge with Governor Bullock, something perhaps not best settled in a race for the U.S. Senate.
She is not a legitimate candidate for office in any form, and I hope Montana media outlets take that in mind when they cover the race.
This is the very definition of Republican dark money influence. A look at the server address hosting “Go Green Montana PAC” demonstrates that this is nothing more than a front for right-wing interests.
Other web sites served on that same domain include the one for Elsie Arntzen’s campaign page, an old site attacking Governor Bullock when he ran for President, campaign sites for Republicans across the country, and an array of front groups including one calling itself the “Clean Capitalist Coalition.”
I don’t think it takes much thought to come up with the name of someone in Montana politics who would sit at the center of the Venn Diagram of dirty money, sham Green Party candidacies, Montana Republican politics, and Astroturf front groups.
Republicans see this as a cheap investment to disrupt a Senate campaign. Let’s hope the Montana media treat it for what it is, another Republican dirty trick to help a very vulnerable Steve Daines.