I know I’m not supposed to.
I know I’m supposed to just let the anonymous Montana Democrats’ troll website spoon-feed me everything I need to know about this guy (they have three pages of articles on him going back to May 2013).
I’m sorry – I couldn’t help it.
I wanted to see for myself what’s so bad, what’s so odious, off-putting, and downright outrageous about this guy.
To do that I went to Greg for Montana, or Gianforte’s website, and Better Montana Jobs, where Gianforte keeps a blog.
Oh, the blasphemy!
While I’m sure I’ll never be forgiven for the sin of finding information on my own, I do feel better for it.
- First of all, Gianforte isn’t the devil he’s made out to be. In fact, he seems like a pretty regular guy, maybe – dare I say it? – a nice fellow. I’ll add that Dan Brooks said about the same on November 19.
- Next, he’s doing Montana things…get this – in Montana. Yeah, I know we’re not used to that, what with Bullock out of state all the time, but my goodness, it sure looks nice. Makes you feel good too.
- Finally, and I know this will rile people up more than anything, but I’m reading the guy’s book. It’s not that bad, has some good ideas. In fact, I think it’s the good ideas being presented, and Gianforte’s being in state, that’s scaring Democrats.
Gianforte’s website does a dang good job letting you know that he’s been in-state, meeting people, and doing…stuff.
Here, take a look:
That’s him talking with some Billings folks about infrastructure needs on December 9.
I like this photo because you can see a lot. For instance, look at all that free food behind Gianforte.
Also, people seem to be listening to him. Shouldn’t they be laughing at him? I mean…that’s the impression I got from the anonymous Democratic attack site.
That’s him at Sidney High School.
Gosh, that student in the back row sure looks bored, doesn’t he? Maybe he doesn’t like what Gianforte is talking about.
And what is he talking about?
I’m sure it’s not religious fundamentalism. No, I bet it’s about being an entrepreneur or educating yourself or something like that.
No wonder the kid is bored – he’s in Sidney High School, a place with no future…as far as he can see.
Know what? Gianforte's talking about that problem.
Here’s one of Gianforte at MSU’s Eastern Agricultural Research Station.
Gianforte sure seems happy to be there, or maybe just for the photo-op, but the scientist-guy kind of looks happy too.
I bet he’s happy someone’s paying attention to him for a change.
Still, it is campaign season – will Gianforte, much like Bullock, forget these rural areas when election time is over and Helena bureaucratic-itis sets in?
Here’s Gianforte at a Bozeman gun show in mid-December.
I like this photo because he’s looking at prices. I like that look on his face also – damn, that’s too expensive.
Here’s another one. You can see it in the way he’s pointing, and I can almost hear the words coming out of his mouth: damn, they want that much?!?
Let’s face it – guns are too damn expensive these days. I mean, those handguns he’s pointing at are probably $300 for the worst of ‘em.
And if you want a decent gun? Well, let’s just say it’s way too much for a common worker to afford.
No, I don’t think we’ll have any problems with Gianforte and the Montana gun crowd. In fact, I think they’ll love the guy.
I can’t say the same about voters.
I mean, look at this photo of Gianforte talking with some community leaders in Sidney.
- First, they look a bit bored.
- Next, they have all this campaign literature in front of them.
- Finally, why should anyone care?
We know Gianforte isn’t a candidate…yet. I think that will change on January 14, myself. That’s filing day and I bet he’ll go official.
For now, it seems like he’s out and about, meeting people and listening to their concerns and trying to come up with ways to help them.
Yeah, I can tell why Bullock and the Democrats are scared.
Now, let’s take a moment to discuss 2016 strategy for both Bullock and Gianforte.
Let’s start with Gianforte.
To my way of thinking, the guy is starting off slow. This is to be expected as he’s not technically a candidate.
Should he be? Probably. I bet he’s made a gaffe and said something that makes it clear he’s running.
I’ve said before, however, that Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP) chooses to do nothing about this.
Now we have 2 weeks until filing and I’m sure that’s when Gianforte will announce.
When he announces, expect the money deluge to begin.
What do I mean by that?
- First, Gianforte will really open up his pocketbooks and start spending the money he’s raised and the money he’s loaned himself. I haven’t looked at his campaign finances in-depth, but with deep pockets like his, I expect he’ll do a lot of personal financing.
- Next, expect to see some GOP PACs jump into the game soon. I expect this will happen around March, myself. Now, there are two ways of looking at this. On the one hand, these could be independent PACs that Gianforte allows to operate. On the other hand, being self-financed and not really needing the money (or negativity PACs bring), Gianforte could tell them to take a hike.
- Finally, Gianforte will put together his expanded team to get elected. Right now he seems to have Aaron Flint and probably a few other people. When he files, expect to see more workers, maybe a campaign office open, and perhaps a lot more in the way of social media, content marketing, telephone, radio, mailings, and possibly even some TV advertising.
Alright, let’s take a look at what Bullock will do.
Bullock has been campaigning for a full year now almost. He’s always raising money and eventually that money will have to be spent.
Here’s what that spending strategy will look like.
- First, expect Bullock to rely heavily on the Montana Cowgirl website, and any other free/friendly advertising he can get from loyal sources that cost nothing. My contention, however, is that these do cost him – in support from people like me that are sick of anonymous attacks and constant dark money raising.
- Next, Bullock will have to start spending his money and he’ll do that with mailings, social media, content marketing, maybe some radio, and then (in March, I think) the TV ads. Expect to see some safe, K Street-style stuff here, loyal Democratic BS. His 2012 campaign should be a good benchmark of what to expect, as was John Lewis’s 2014 House bid.
- Finally, Bullock and the Democrats have to rely on this concept called GOTV, or Get Out The Vote. The reason for this is that their voters aren’t really interested in the process, they’re younger, they’re poorer, they’re less educated, and they just don’t give much of a damn about anything. That means there has to be lots of boots on the ground to get out that vote.
Gianforte doesn’t have this problem as much because Republicans are much more stick together-y and will do as they’re told. There will be no low turnout numbers with them, there will be no questioning if this is the right candidate.
Gianforte’s a Repbulican, damn it – let’s vote for him!
When it comes to Bullock it’s more like, “gosh, I guess we better vote, huh…right…right...aw, fuck it!”
Getting out the vote doesn’t work to well when you have to spend a lot of time convincing people to do something they don’t really want to do.
That’s the Democrats’ problem – indifference.
For Gianforte it’s doubt.
Both Bullock and Gianforte will be spending a lot of money soon to overcome both of those things.
Let the fireworks begin.