For a few hundred people – maybe as many as a couple thousand – today was exciting!
For most everyone else in the state, it was just another day.
Yep, filing day is over and done with.
The Missoulian did a good job reporting on things here, while I used the Helena IR to learn about the rest of the state.
For instance, 56 new people filed to run for the legislature today. 292 people are running for 125 seats.
On the federal level, Tester has a bit of a problem…maybe. You see, around 9 this morning the Secretary of State’s Office told people that the Green Party had indeed qualified to be on the ballot, as the 5,000 signatures they collected were good.
This threw a wrench into filing day.
For Tester, now he has a Green Party opponent that might be more progressive, siphoning off votes from Jon.
Tester knows this strategy well, as he relied on the Libertarian candidate in 2012 to get enough votes to beat the Republican.
One caveat is that there will also be a Libertarian candidate in the race, perhaps negating any effect of the Green Party candidate.
We’ll see the same thing unfold in one of our legislative races, SD 49 here in Missoula, with a Dem, GOPer, Libertarian and Green Party candidate.
When I think of these races I’m reminded of the 1932 general election for the state’s second congressional seat. That year saw Dem Roy Ayers get 52% of the vote to win, with Republican Scott Leavitt getting 44%. The other three candidates in the race were as follows: A Socialist getting 1.3%; a Communist getting 1.2%; and a Liberty Party candidate getting 0.9%.
The U.S. House race is by far the most crowded when it comes to Dems, with another filing today.
I’m reminded of the 1936 primary for the state’s first congressional seat, which saw five Dems run (Jerry O’Connell won in June and November). Then there was the 1942 primary, which also had five Dems (Mike Mansfield won in both June and November).
The 1950 primary had six Democratic candidates, with John Holmes winning, though he’d go on to lose in November.
The 1952 primary also had five candidates, with Lee Metcalf winning and eventually going to Washington.
In 2014, the GOP had a primary with five candidates, Zinke taking the cake that year.
This year the Democrats have six candidates running for the U.S. House seat. Most media outlets put Heenan and Kier out in front. We’ll see how it pans out over the next three months.
Here in Missoula, one race that will prove exciting is the sheriff’s race. It’ll be a repeat of 2014, with Sheriff McDermott against Josh Clark. I expect this will be a high-money race, with lots of those jumbo yard signs and probably radio ads and shit-tons of junk mailers.
On the legislative front, the Missoula County GOP did a remarkable, last-minute job of getting candidates for nearly every race.
The only race that doesn’t have a GOP challenger – meaning the Dem will automatically win in November – is HD 100, Andrea Olsen.
Must have been a lot of phone calls today to get all these people to file.
When it comes to the PSC, Seat #1 has four Republicans running and one Democrat. It’s an open seat this year, no incumbent.
Three Democrats are trying to take out PSC #5’s Brad Johnson.
I was surprised to see both Bowen Greenwood and Roger Roots file to run for Clerk of the Supreme Court, on the GOP and Libertarian tickets, respectively. Rex Renk is the Democrat, and I have a feeling that this race could get interesting.
One of the most interesting facets that came about today was the emergence of the Green Party after a decade’s-long absence.
The GOP is thrilled about this, for they’ve been on the short end of the stick when it comes to third parties. The Libertarians have been taking votes, and perhaps costing them elections, for years.
Now the Green Party threatens to do the same to the Montana Democrats. I fully expect that national, GOP-leaning PACs will fund mailers and TV ads for Green Party candidates…whether those candidates want it or not.
We could even see an inkling of this in Missoula’s SD 49, as that’s sure to be a $60,000+ race (Democrat Sands raised nearly $28,000 in 2014 to win by 31 votes, which a recount had to decide).
I’m also wondering how it’ll work for the U.S. Senate primary for the two Green Party candidates. Will voters now have the option to get three different Party ballots when they go to vote?
Whatever happens, one of the most crucial things for our newspapers and TV stations and radio stations to do is to follow the money.
Candidate finance reports will come out April 5th for statewide candidates and May 6th for legislative candidates. The federal candidates need to file on April 15th and again on July 15th.
I hope our press also looks at which PACs are operating, who they’re funding, and where that funding is coming from.
Montanans want to know this.
Well, with that I wish you a good evening.