Montanans Deserve to Know Why Buzz Mattelin Donated to Anti-Choice Candidates

Whitney Williams perhaps said it best in this campaign: ” Abortion access is essential healthcare.”

That’s why it’s troubling that her running mate Buzz Mattelin has donated to Montana legislators who proposed and voted for significant restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. Voters in the Montana Democratic primary deserve an explanation about these donations and what they reveal about where Mattelin stands on choice.

In 2012, Mattelin donated to Republican Jim Shockley’s campaign for Attorney General.

In the 2011 legislative session, Shockley was the sponsor of a parental notification bill that would have required survivors of sexual assault and incest to notify their abusers before receiving abortion services. It’s bedrock choice policy to reject these measures because they put the most vulnerable at the greatest risk:

The most vulnerable and scared teens are put at greatest risk. Forcing teenagers to disclose to their parents that they are pregnant or seeking an abortion may place some teens at risk of physical violence or abuse. According to a 1992 study, about one-third of teenagers who did not tell their parents about their decision to seek an abortion had experienced violence in their family, or feared that violence would occur or that they would be forced to leave home.

During that same 2011 session, Shockley also voted for SB 176, which would have prohibited marketplace health plans from covering abortion services, and HB 574, which would have amended the Montana constitution to “clarify” that it “does not grant or secure a right to abortion.”

Those are extremist anti-choice votes, but Mattelin donated to Shockley’s campaign, even though there were two strong pro-choice candidates running in the Democratic primary.

In 2006, Mattelin donated Senator Robert Story, who sponsored a bill in 2004 that called for amending the Constitution to outlaw abortion by declaring that “The protection of unborn human life is a compelling state interest.”

Among those co-sponsoring this legislation were anti-choice luminaries like Jeff Laszloffy, Joe Balyeat, and Ed Butcher.

Democratic voters who care about reproductive health and rights deserve to know why Buzz Mattelin donated to anti-choice candidates.

Some might be tempted to argue that these few donations are simply cherry-picked examples that don’t represent Mattelin’s values. The problem with that line of reasoning, though, is that, between 2000-2019, Mattelin donated to exactly three Democrats and three Republicans, with the last donation to a Democratic candidate coming in 2008, when he donated to Brian Schweitzer’s re-election campaign.

Given that we don’t have a legislative record to examine nor any public statements about abortion rights, the Williams-Mattelin campaign owes it to Montana women to explain these donations and directly answer where their candidate for lieutenant governor stands on choice, an “essential healthcare” question the next administration will almost certainly face.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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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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  • Done with her. End of story. Extreme, yes extreme, lack of judgement picking that dude for running mate. Unforgivable. Thank God we found out before the election. Dump her.

    • Then please explain to me why Mike Cooney voted FOR the Heap Leach strip mine in the Bitterroot when he was on the MT Land Board and lied about it? Why did Bullock’s administration approve 10 of the last 11 mine permits? Whitney Williams is on the forefront of speaking out against the mine approved by Bullock’s Admin – 1 mile from the sacred Smith River. Sorry, I will not compromise on our right to clean water, and access to a pure Smith River. Please listen to the most recent AG debate, Ms. Whitney Williams called out career politician “Yes, Man Mike” twice, it’s on the record and he lied in the debate and she was not afraid to call him out. Sure, Mike is an excellent public servant, but Williams made a calculated decision to hire an Eastside Farmer who understands their issues and to balance the ticket. If years ago he made that decision that is his personal right. Don’t get me wrong, I am as passionate as you about my choices with my body, but sometimes we can’t sacrifice the whole ticket and while this is significant, it is not a deal breaker for me (and that is odd but true – side note – When Doug Cordier ran in the MT House he came to our Flathead Dems Central Committee and made his pitch. He told us there is one caveat, I am a Catholic and I will not budge on abortion. He and his wife worked hard and we finally had a Dem in C-Falls, and at that time, we had Dems in three seats – JopekWF/CordierC-Falls and Senator Weinberg in WF/CF. Many left that meeting commenting they would not work for Doug because of his unwillingness to budge on abortion, yet he won and that session brought many positive outcomes). Also, Governor Williams will never let any additional abortion controls go past her desk and will Veto them with her own branding iron. Conservative farmers and ranchers will vote for Whitney/Buzz Ticket, their wives will all vote for Whitney and make their husbands vote for her as well (just like Senator Julie French in Scobey). There are more women candidates on the ballot in MT then ever before and I am willing to bet $2 that we beat our record turnout of 86.4% in 1968 as 2020 is just as that was a, pivotal election. Are you just supporting Mike because he has the luxury of being a man who “ it’s his turn” and you “think” he can win? I ask you to wait to cast your ballot for Governor. The stakes are too high and it is time to consider the candidates based on their accomplishments. Watch the debate (I believe there is another one on May 20th) and listen to her sharpness. With her cred, if she were a man, you would vote for her hands down.

      • whitney would be more credible on the smith river if she wasn’t backing bringing meat processing plants to montana, which release incredible amounts of pollution into our water.

        here’s the thing: you’re saying less qualified or accomplished than whitney. let’s remember: whitney williams moved to washington, d.c. as a child. she did not move back to montana until she went to university of montana. when she graduated, her dad got her an internship at the white house. she moved to seattle when she was done politicking. she turned her political connections into a mediocre seattle-based consulting firm. she moved back to montana to run for governor. this is not someone who is like you and me. this is someone who has been given everything they’ve ever had in life. this is someone who feels entitled to be governor of a state they’ve barely lived in because their last name is williams. cooney, for whatever faults he may have, has actually had experience working with republicans to accomplish things. williams can’t even work with her campaign staff without them quitting due to an abusive work environment.

        whitney williams is not just the least qualified person running for governor, she’s not even the most qualified person named “williams” on the ballot.

      • Joan-

        I’m not sure whether the last comment about voting for Ms. Williams is directed at me, but I take some offense at the suggestion. I have always supported female candidates on the blog.

        I guess I struggle a bit with your position. You say initially that you “will not compromise” on clean water, but later suggest that Democratic voters should compromise on the right to choose.

        There is a simple step the Williams/Mattelin campaign can take here: they can have Buzz explain why he donated to Jim Shockley instead of Pam Bucy or Jesse Laslovich, and they can have him explain why he has donated to as many Republicans as Democrats in his life.

        It’s entirely fair to Ms. Williams to choose an Independent or a Republican for her running mate if she believes that is a winning strategy, but don’t we deserve to know if Mr. Mattelin is a Democrat before we vote for him? That he supports a woman’s right to an abortion?

        I hope they’ll answer these questions.

        • Don, Oh no, I did not mean to offend you at all. I don’t know if you noticed, but directly after I finished my post, I signed up to be a Patron as I highly respect and value the work you do. I am honestly worried about what will happen to Montana Politics when you go to Hawaii to teach. You have every right to question the donations, I was directing my comments to Larry Kralj, but mostly getting a lot of stuff off my chest about this race. Again, I would like to ask folks to get more informed and watch the next debate and listen to the last ones, and yes, listen to the Williams campaign and a response from Buzz. Thank you so much for your diligent reporting and for teaching high school English!

          • Thanks, Joan.

            I do appreciate the give and take on this debate. My feathers have been ruffled a bit in this primary, too. 🙂

            Thank you for your passionate defense of your candidate.

            As I said in an earlier post, I think they are both good candidates. I think WW has made some missteps in the campaign, but hope that she will, if she loses this primary, run again. And if she wins the primary, I hope she crushes Greg G. 🙂


            • You are welcome, It just hit me on a bad day, so I vented. I really do mean I worry about Montana politics, without you in the game. I wanted to ask you a question once and maybe I sent you a message on messenger or something – but that question was this

              Who is keeping track of all of the travesties of the Trump Admin? I don’t want to hear that it is 6 different organizations. I feel like we need a road map now. Sure, you can just go back to the executive orders, but there is so much damage done on so many levels. I would also suggest following Pam Maclean on Facebook, she is a writer and follower of the California Court and posts updates of the crap that has been going down over these past 3 1/2 years. I know that gets into national politics and you stick with MT which I am grateful for , but there are big questions, one is What was Daines doing in Russia on the last 4th of July?
              Why can no one answer that question? Why is he Donnie’s pet?

              Anyway, I look forward to staying in touch. Best to you, you do a good service to all of us. Thanks, Joan

        • Don, can you delete the post I made at 9:19? It is duplicate and has the wrong spelling of Larry’s last name – so sorry about that

            • There you have it! GG wins because Democrats are
              fighting. Seems like a story I’ve read before. Why does it always end the same way? We need a new narrative, don’t we?

                • Polite, yes. Perhaps. But the article points out a disturbing reality, if it
                  is completely reliable. Whitney is politically unseasoned. Even with
                  her two great parents to guide her.
                  Mike has my vote only because he
                  has a slightly better chance of winning. His support from Bullock
                  can be significant.

      • “make their husbands vote for her”? There’s a sure sign of a healthy relationship, never mind respecting the privacy of the voting booth.

  • Oh no! We can’t have candidates who have a history of respecting the sanctity of life! If a baby is an inconvenience, kill it! You go girl! Remember anyone who believes in the right to life is an incel who hates woman. Gotta love that wonderful liberal logic! Vote blue 2020!

    • Respectful question, Javid. Your sincerity is clear about the unborn. How do
      you feel about the death penalty? Especially when so many who have sat on
      death row, throughout this country, have subsequently been exonerated?

      • I usually don’t get a reply to this question about the death penalty.
        One person actually said, in response, “Fry ’em!”. Javid, I hope you will reply, civilly.

      • Pogo, thank you for the honest question and for actually engaging in civil discussion unlike your buddy Larry here who just wants to namecall. I used to be anti-death penalty in all cases. Now, I’m not opposed to the death penalty in all cases. However, I share your concern about innocent people being executed. We are on the same page about that. If someone is going to be executed for a crime, there had damn well be evidence beyond question that he or she is guilty.

    • No, what I actually said, Javid, is that a guy who compares women to preg tested cows is mentally ill and more than likely an incel. Guys that get their jollies attempting to bully women in public surely can’t have women lined up at his door demanding to go out on dates with him. Hence, my liberal logic tells me he’s an incel.

      • Larry, I don’t know if you saw my replies to you under the other article, but regardless, I’ll reply to you here as well. So standing up for the unborn, including unborn females means I’m comparing pregnant women to cows and is bullying women? Believing murder of unborn children, including female children makes me a bully? The fad among leftists these days is to accuse men who oppose abortion as being incels and resort to other personal attacks.. I happen to be married and engage in sexual relations quite frequently. But yet, I’m pro-life, so does that make me an incel? Are you saying that men who get sex regularly by rule must be pro-abortion (murder)?

        None of this makes any sense, Larry. Let’s face it. You didn’t bother to refute my arguments because you can’t. So all you did was resort to personal attacks and ad-hominem fallacy. It’s typical of the left. They can’t hold their own with logic and actual arguments, so they resort to personal attacks and physical force. By just calling me names, you are conceding you lost the debate and are tapping out. You got rhetorically curbstomped, so you gotta try to make up for it by namecalling What a coward you are.

        By the way, since you want to bring “incels” up out of nowhere, apparently have a pretty low opinion of them…..but I’d rather be one of them than sleep with your typical liberal, fat blue haired, social justice warrior woman that you apparently have a fetish for.

        Seriously, until you actually bother to answer my arguments with actual logic and facts, you’re just a defeated little man.

        Hey, ask your mom if she agrees with you that I’m an incel. LOL

    • And Javy, you incels are certifiably NUTS! Remember this bill you nuts introduced? If a fella is seen in public with a semi-woody, he was to be arrested and charged with a crime for being “discernibly turgid”! I’m quite sure that Keith reiger gets discernibly turgid every time he sees attractive livestock! Dude should be in livestock jail! Dude loves cows! In the Biblical sense! This particular bill made the Letterman show. It’s been down hill ever sense, Javy. You dudes worry more about your wingdings and vajayjays more than any other pervs I know!

      • And Javy, you gonna volunteer for wing ding patrol? You gonna walk around in Montana bars to see which fellas are discernibly turgid? Well, I take my hat off to ya? Maybe you incels are a tougher lot than I thought. Doin’ a citizen’s arrest in a Montana bar on a guy who’s discernibly turgid is about as tough as it gets! Good thing about that duty though is, that occasionally, you and Keith reiger might encounter a cowboy who likes another fella staring at his privates! Ya never know!

      • Keep being the little man and coward that you are by focusing on crap that has nothing to do with my points and my arguments and calling me an incel. I guess it makes you feel better, but it doesn’t take away that you can’t actually address my points. Your immature tactics means you tapped out and lost the debate. But I need to remember that liberals don’t debate. They just resort to personal attacks and violence when they can’t win an argument.

        • Does this mean that you won’t be volunteering for wing ding patrol? Bones spurs acting up again? Sorry to hear that. It takes a real man to patrol the Montana bars looking at crotches for a cowboy sporting a suspicious bulge! Dangerous duty. But hey, somebody’s got to do it to keep Montana on the path to glory! Javy, YOUR side comes up with the crazy sh*t. Own it. It’s who you are! Be it abortion or a guy’s protruding package, you dudes are nuts!

          • Here, Javy, just so you know. But the thing is, while doing your rounds, if you find a patriotic cowboy with his little flag pole flying at half mast, you’ve got to be quick! First, take a pic before his enthusiasm flags. Then, read him his Miranda rights. And finally, quote him the fine nutjob incel law that authorizes a citizen’s arrest!

            “ human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered;”, are against the law!

            That ottter prevent him from wailing the tar out of your sorry Butte!…..or maybe not!

            • This exchange is unbecoming. How does this promote engagement to arrive at something
              constructive on both sides. Instead, it’s just
              another free-for-all. Where is the referee? A good debate coach would shut this down and lay out
              some thoughtful guidance, before this happens
              again. It discredits the civil comments of others.

                • Don, I suggest you set out what’s acceptable and what’s not, in a minimally restrictive way, that maintains decorum. Otherwise it begins to look like a stream of hate
                  for someone’s opposite opinion. What do you tell your high school debate teams when someone gets dangerously personal? Right. Your students intuitively know better.
                  I have learned some good things on this website, but I can forego stopping in occasionally when what I find is predominantly barroom joisting. I gave up drinking a while back and don’t enjoy reckless attacks just for the sake of entertainment.

                • I barely have time to do my two jobs, write posts here and manage my own life. Refereeing comments seems like a waste of time that could be better spent. I may just send them away.

                • Read the content of the exchange
                  between Mr Kralj and Mr Alvarez.
                  They’re better than this. Both are clearly intelligent. If you don’t have time for refereeing your site with modest rules, it diminishes what you’ve obviously worked to create –
                  a forum for debate. Your passion.
                  If I wrote a book and spent years evolving the narrative, would I turn it over to a tabloid editor? Your call, Don. I’ll respect it. And say adios.

              • Pogo, yes, my initial posts were sarcastic, but I never nor have I ever initially attacked anyone personally on this site. Go ahead and look at the exchanges and see who is uncivil. I was only uncivil in response to Mr. Kralj. If he wants to debate and discuss in the manner in which you are conducting yourself, I’m OK with that, but I’m no longer going to indulge him, at least as long as he keeps engaging in this crap.

              • Um, pogo, problem is, as I see it, how do you debate folks who are nuts? At least I provide examples of their pathology, and the they get upset. Besides, I call it having fun at their expense. When their party makes the late night comedy shows on a regular basis, that should tell you all you need to know about their arguments! I simply remember all their goofiness from the past. It’s great stuff.

  • Sheesh. Mission accomplished! Right wing nutjobs get to dominate the comments, and when someone calls them on it, pogo shows up and ends the debate! Go ahead, stop comments. That’s what the Nazis want. Hey, I have a great idea. Why not just block nazi comments?

    • I’m a Vietnam Vet. I’m not a pansy, Mr Kralj. I’ve been cold-cocked in reservation
      bars more than one time. I just want to read political thoughts on the local level.
      Not chats about the dorcas membranous issues some think are a way to persuade
      who is the smartest or toughest. As I mentioned, barroom verbal fist-a-cuffs is
      something I grew weary of hearing. Maybe living in the Spray of the Falls makes
      life a little boring. I, on the other hand, liked a visit there and a beer at the Board
      of Trade, back in my checkered youth. And, no, not in my Hitler Youth.

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