I thought it would interesting to look at some candidates that are running for office.
Here in Missoula, we now have the most crowded legislative races in the state.
House District 89 has 4 Democratic candidates running; no Republican yet.
There’s Katie Sullivan, Jon Van Dyke, Patrick Weasel Head, and Dirk Williams.
We know Patrick Weasel Head because he was appointed to the Missoula City Council to fill Harlan Well’s old seat, when Wells went to work for Stapleton’s office in Helena.
We know Jon Van Dyke because he’s run for office in Missoula, I think, a couple times. I know he ran for Ward 3 in 2017 and got 625 votes…which sounds like a lot, but proved to be just 20% of the vote.
I don’t know anything about Katie Sullivan. A quick search reveals she’s serving on the board of the Poverello Center, is a University District Neighborhood Councilmember, and she’s an intellectual property attorney.
Dirk Williams is another I’m unfamiliar with. He’s a trusts and estates lawyer with Crowley Fleck and comes from Central Montana. He’s harvested wheat from Texas to Canada and even worked as a fruit picker.
Currently, I feel both Sullivan and Williams will be formidable opponents. Their legal network will really help with fundraising. They’ll have lots of connections; lots of people that will put up yard signs.
For Van Dyke and Weasel Head, this will be an uphill battle. But maybe Sullivan and Williams will split the vote, and one of the other guys wins the primary.
We know that here in Missoula, all you need to do is win the primary to be almost-assured a general election victory in November.
Personally, I feel Van Dyke should run in a different race. I feel HD 96 would suit him more, and the person currently running for that seat is Tom Winter. Van Dyke got 49 more votes than Winter in the Ward 3 race a couple months ago.
The other hot race is House District 91.
Here we have 4 Democrats and no Republican.
The Dems are Matt Bell, Nancy de Pastino, Alex Gray, and Connie Keogh.
I’m not sure if Matt Bell is a teacher at Willard Alternative School, or if he’s a wildlife biologist with the Montana Land Reliance.
Nancy de Pastino was heavily involved with the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense movement here in Missoula. I don’t see any other job listed for her, but she does have a candidate website up already, Act Blue, and Facebook.
Google didn’t have anything on Alex Bell, but he does have a candidate Facebook page that tells you about him. He was born in Great Falls and is in his early-30s. He’s worked as a committee guy at the legislature, but I’m not sure what his current job is.
Connie Keogh has her candidate website up, and we learn that…the site is under construction so we can’t learn too much.
Right now, I’d have to give this race to de Pastino. She seems to have the hunger and ambition to get elected. Gun control is a popular issue here in Missoula as well, and her stance will help her.
And the other races?
I was interested to see that Stevensville’s HD 88 has 4 candidates – two Republicans, one Democrat, and one Independent.
When it comes to the Senate, just one race has three candidates – Havre’s SD 14, which has Brad Lotton, an R, and Paul Tuss, a D, taking on incumbent Republican Russ Tempel.
Back in Missoula, HD 94 through HD 100 all have eager Democrats, and none have a primary challenger or a Republican challenger.
I’m not sure Missoula Republicans will be able to find enough candidates to run for those seats. They can be depressing races for the R’s.
Well, I hope I didn’t miss anything, but please mention it if I did.