Has everyone lost their mind?
Have we taken leave of our senses?
Do we have shit in our eyes?
These are questions I’m forced to ask myself as I look at the political landscape in Montana, and how people are reacting to it.
Let’s take a look at the various races.
Our reporters in Montana think they’re top shit, but none of them ever follow the money.
A good place to start would be the FEC, and the Big Sky Values PAC. Currently they have three monthly reports. The latest report comes from April and is 48 pages long.
In that report we learn that Bullock has $230,000 of cash on hand.
Staffers for Bullock’s 2020 presidential run include Ashley Tubbs, Jack Segal, Jeremy Busch, Megan Simpson, and Yetta Stein.
For the life of me I can’t understand why Bullock gave $1,000 to the Shaheen for Senate campaign. Well, she’s the senior U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, so maybe that’s why.
Like I told you in February, most of Bullock’s money seems to be coming from California, New York, Massachusetts, and here in Montana.
If our Montana reporters weren’t too busy playing around on Twitter all day, perhaps they could dig into those reports, produce some cool infographics, and perhaps drum up some traffic and advertising revenue for their bosses.
I just don’t see that happening.
Now, when you do put your thinking cap on and dig into these reports, you quickly find out that Bullock is spending a lot of money with polling and research firms.
For instance, his latest report has him spending about $40,000 with GBA Strategies, a polling firm based out of D.C.
Blue State Digital and Mothership Strategies are two other firms Bullock is spending a lot of money with for consulting, research, and polling. Mothership Strategies alone got about $30,000 from Bullock last month.
This is why Bullock is running for president and not the Senate - he’s spent enough money on polling to know he has no chance of beating Daines.
He has no chance in the presidential field, either.
This week polls came out showing Biden at 36% and Sanders at 18% and all the other Dem clown car candidates in the single digits.
Trump quickly tweeted out that the Dem primary was over, and that Biden was going to be the candidate.
Unless there’s some kind of health scare, I think Trump is right. This is bad for Bullock, as Biden just isn’t going to generate the kind of excitement that’ll be needed to put a Dem in the White House.
Bullock’s only shot in 2020 is having a Dem win the White House so he can get appointed to a cabinet position, and that would only happen if Bullock somehow distinguished himself in that crowded Dem primary field.
I don’t think Bullock will distinguish himself, as he’s not the best political speaker. I also don’t think any of the current Dems running for president can beat Trump, unless there’s a serious economic recession before the election.
When/if Biden becomes the general election candidate next year, we’ll see a lot of young voters get turned off, making it easier for Trump to win.
I’m not sure Tim Fox can beat out a Gianforte/Arntzen ticket.
He just doesn’t have the money.
For years now I’ve been telling the Montana Republican Party that they have to get the elephant out of the room.
That elephant is Gianforte and his massive amounts of cash. His money makes it very hard, if not impossible, for other primary candidates to beat him. Because of this, Gianforte can stay around in Montana politics for as long as he wants.
So far we haven’t seen any Davids come along to slay that Goliath.
The only sling that’ll take Gianforte down is his own. If he runs for governor next year, he won’t be running for congress. If he loses in the primary, he’s out for at least two years, and perhaps longer.
Tim Fox just doesn’t have the support network to primary Gianforte. Tim could raise $500,000 but Greg would just turn around and loan his campaign $1 million.
Like I said, the elephant in the room. Gianforte kills the aspirations of up-and-coming GOP candidates, and over the next decade that’ll erode the GOP’s bench in Montana.
There’s absolutely no point in talking about any of the possible Democratic candidates for governor. After 16 years of Dems in that position, Montana voters will be making a change.
That said, smart Montana Democrats will run for governor, as it’ll boost their name recognition for a 2024 run, either at the same spot or for a different statewide or congressional run.
It’ll be a long-term game, and that 2020 loss won’t be easy to stomach, but it will be necessary. Without that 2020 loss, there won’t be victory in 2024.
I don’t see Bennion losing.
He’s spent half a decade planning a statewide run. I’d argue he’s spent 15 years planning it. It was in 2004, after all, that he published his book profiling other statewide political personalities.
People don’t write books about Montana politics and history unless they themselves want to be in those books one day.
Bennion will be in that book. He’s going to win the AG race, and easily so.
I like Kim Dudik. She’s always been nice to me, ever since I first met her in 2014 when I was running for the legislature. But she’s not that popular with the Dem partisans in Helena. She’s worked across the aisle too much, has had her picture taken with Tim Fox too much.
Dems don’t like that. It’s why her fundraising totals are quite low.
That said, no one thought Kathleen Williams was going to win the primary last year, but she did. Dudik could surprise us all and win next June as well.
If Bullock wasn’t too busy with his presidential aspirations, I think Raph Graybill would have a better chance than he does now.
No one knows who Graybill is. I always suggest that people run for the legislature first, but Graybill did not take this route. About the only thing he has to run on right now is his family name, and it’s a name few outside of Great Falls know.
I just don’t think it’s his year.
Corey Stapleton is going to get a second term in this spot.
Before the March 2020 filing deadline, he’ll switch from governor back to this race. And that would be the smart choice for this smart politician.
I know it’s really popular to bash Corey Stapleton, saying he’s an idiot. But this doesn’t get to the truth.
The guy is disciplined, which probably comes from all his years in the Navy. We see that discipline in run after run after run. The guy’s been around forever - I remember giving testimony to the agricultural committee back in 2001 when Stapleton and Tester were both on it.
I think Corey should stay at SoS for another term, trying for something else in 2024 when he’s termed out. Personally, I think his discipline will take him all the way to Congress, probably when we get a new seat in 2022 or 2024.
No Dems have signaled they’re going to run for this seat yet. Rumor has it that Missoula’s Bryce Bennett might run. He’s more than qualified to do that, but I just don’t think a gay man is going to win a statewide race.
I’ve been wrong before, and perhaps Bryce will surprise me. Alas, I just don’t think so.
I’m not sure which Republican will step up to run in this race when Arntzen steps down to run as Gianforte’s running mate in the gubernatorial race.
I think Romano has a very good shot at this race, whether she’s running against Arntzen or not. In fact, I think she’s going to be the only Democrat to win a statewide race next year.
I’d like to see Tom Winter get out of this race and file for one of our statewide spots. Auditor and SoS come to mind.
I don’t see Kathleen Williams losing the primary. I don’t see her winning the general, though.
When Gianforte announces for governor, we’ll see Republicans come out of the woodwork to get this seat.
Some think Austin Knudsen will run for AG, but he’d do better in this race. Bennion already has AG wrapped up, has had for years.
There’s a good bet that Stapleton will switch to this race when Gianforte switches to gov (which won’t happen until Bullock declares). I don’t think it’s Stapelton’s year for this race, however, and if he steps down from SoS to attempt it, he could be sitting out for years.
I don’t really know what other GOP candidates will declare for this race, but I’m assuming we’ll have a field of 5 or 6.
Steve Daines raised $7 million to win this seat in 2014, so that’s the number for Dems to reach and to beat.
I just don’t think they’ll even come close to that, however, and I think Daines will raise a lot more in 2020 than he did in ‘14.
Bullock can’t beat Daines. If he could, he’d be in that race already. Bullock already spent thousands of dollars on polling...polling that shows he can’t win that race.
For Dems, this is a name recognition race and a warm-up for 2024 races.
If Bullock can’t beat Daines, no other Montana Dems are going to. Someone with a long-game will have to lose this one so they can win another one later on.
It’s tough, but no one said politics was going to be easy.
I can understand why there’s so much excitement over a possible Wilmott Collins run at this race. Democrats love identity politics. The rest of the country? Not so much. The greatest gift for Daines in 2020 will be Collins as an opponent.
There’s a bit of talk that Michael Punke might run for this position.
No one in Montana knows who this man is. The second greatest gift for Daines in 2020 will be Punke as an opponent.
Mostly, we see how in the doldrums the Montana Democratic Party is when a writer who’s barely lived in the state and a guy that just got elected mayor is all they can put up.
Years and years of self-aggrandizement at Dem HQ in Helena has ruined the Party’s ability to field viable candidates.
Life has gotten harder for common Montana citizens because of this. As a result, many voters that would have voted Democrat have moved out of the state.