That’s fine – you don’t come to this site because of how many friends I have.
You come here for hard-hitting political reporting that you just won’t find anywhere else.
The Flathead Beacon of course led the way this cycle with their May 3 article called Republican Duels Top Legislative Primaries.
James Conner had a good post up yesterday called Flathead campaign finances notes and surprises. Very detailed.
Together with my detailed analysis of the governor’s race finances (analysis you won’t find anywhere else) and you know full-well that there are just a few media outlets that are really putting it all together.
Sadly, our newspapers aren’t one of these. Our TV stations aren’t either.
Nope, if you want quality reporting in Montana you have to go to the blogs.
That’s why you’re here. Let’s get started.
The 2016 Missoula County Commissioner Race
I’ve yet to see a single Stacey Rye sign.
Those are the two candidates that are running for one of the three county commissioner seats in the 111,000-person strong Missoula County.
Currently Stacey Rye is a county commissioner, though one that was appointed. You’ll remember that process in my July 2015 post called The Missoula County Puppet Show.
Dave Strohmaier was on the Missoula City Council for 8 years and ran for the U.S. House in 2012. He finished a respectable third in that 7-person primary. He ran for HD 92 in 2014 as well, but lost by 6%.
I put up several tweets last night discussing the finances of these two races and some things that stood out to me.
First of all, you can tell that Rye has the Missoula County Democratic establishment backing her to the hilt. The list of endorsements she has is long, even if at least once name is repeated.
Strohmaier doesn’t have that support, but he might have something better – monetary support.
Both of the current commissioners, Cola Rowley and Jean Curtiss, have given at least $150 to Strohmaier’s campaign. They’ve given nothing to Rye.
Altogether, Rye has raised $10,190 while Strohmaier has raised $12,638. Still, Rye has just $500 in campaign debt while Strohmaier has $5,000, most of that a loan to himself.
I was interested to see that Rye raised $100 through a pass the hat event in West Virginia, of all places.
My Vote: I have to be completely honest – I’m not real fond of either of these two.
Strohmaier will be getting my vote, however, and that boils down to a few things:
- Current commissioner Jean Curtis is publicly backing him, and from what I’ve heard knocking on doors, Rye is too difficult for Curtis to work with.
- I like Strohmaier’s talk about maintaining what agricultural land we have left. I didn’t grow up here but I often hear people say that Reserve Street used to be farmland. Much of the Helena Valley past Lincoln Road where I grew up was the same. Now it’s gone. So this is important.
- Strohmaier is an historian and so am I. I know we could argue all night. Not sure if he’d ‘like’ the negative tweets my political opponents send out – like Rye has – so there’s another bonus.
The 2016 Missoula Senate Races
We’ll go through them one by one.
SD 45: Dick Barrett vs. Sashin Hume
This year we have SD 45 with incumbent Democrat Dick Barrett against Republican Sashin Hume.
Barrett has received $11,534 in campaign donations for the general so far while Hume has taken in $300 for the primary.
Hume has no primary opponent so he needs to straighten out those reports with his treasurer.
My Vote: I’m not real fond of Dick Barrett. He’s an economist but rarely do we get news from him. I’m reminded of Dave Parker at MSU – highbrow intellectual types that are so full of themselves they never find the time to actually tell us anything useful.
I’d probably leave this one blank, to be completely honest. To vote for someone I have to be excited about them…at least a little bit. I took Barrett’s macroeconomics course about 10 years ago. There’s nothing to get excited about.
SD 46: Sue Malek vs. Adam Pummill
For SD 46 we have incumbent Democrat Sue Malek against Daryl Temlet in the primary, then Adam Pummill in the general.
I met Pummill’s mom when I was knocking on doors this week. I’m not sure who her son is, but since he’s a Republican that’s not surprising.
My Vote: If I had to vote in this race I’d vote for Sue Malek. You might remember my walk-around the Capitol at the end of March 2015. Sue Malek was the only person I saw working.
I’m not sure who Templet is, other than the fact that he used to live in Billings.
Well, hell – he’s running for HD 56, not SD 56. Boy, what a huge mess-up on SoS and COPP for that.
I know he’s running for that district because of his C-5 campaign report, which tells us he’s raised $0.
Oh, and now I see that he withdrew. Damn it.
Sue Malek has raised $2,520 for the primary and Pummill has raised $680 for the general.
Malek and COPP need to talk and get things straightened out on the reports.
SD 47: Tom France vs. Joey Jayne (with Salomon in the wings)
SD 47 has a lot of people, though one of them dropped out back on March 10.
Currently we have Democrats Tom France and Joey Jayne going for this open seat, as well as Republican Daniel Salomon (GOPer Robert Bridges withdrew).
Saloman has raised $7,570 for the general and has spent $3,468.
I don’t know much about Tom France. He’s got a BA in History from UM and a law degree as well. Besides that he seems environmentally-inclined.
Joey Jayne is a lawyer as well, which tells me there’s very little to get excited about in this race.
Two lawyers? Boy, I know they won’t give two damns about my life and my problems, just other rich lawyers and their problems.
Oh, and I’m sorry if my thinking that all lawyers are rich bothers you. When your profession typically charges $300 for an hour of 'work,' I have a tendency to think that about you and lots of other regular people do too.
France has raised $12,285 for the primary (including a $2,000 loan), though he’s spent $5,800 as well.
Jayne has raised just $380 and she’s only spent $37, for cards and ink.
If I had to bet I’d say Jayne has given up. Some ink and cards isn’t going to match the more than $2,000 in yard signs that France has, the $630 in walking cards, or the $1,925 in “campaign services” from Missoula’s Westridge Consulting.
God, what a terrible website and what a terrible presence on Google. Their shitty Facebook page comes up before their shitty site. Alas, we know that Montana political services are abysmal – it’s why so many statewides go out of state for their web and consulting and design work.
Honestly, you’re going to use a political flyer from someone that ran back in 2004 or so? My God, that’s sad.
My Vote: I’d vote for Jayne in this one just because she’s such an underdog. Maybe she’ll get more than 100 votes, but I’m not expecting much more than 30% of the primary vote here.
The 2016 Missoula House Races
HD 94: Kim Dudik vs. Lance Cox
Dudik is the Democratic incumbent and I bet she’s damn happy she’s not running against Gary Marbut again. Remember his complaints about her logo?
Dudik has raised just $615 so far while Cox has brought in $540, including a $50 loan to himself and a $170 donation from Greg Gianforte.
Hell, I probably should have asked Gianforte for money – I have a feeling he’ll give to most anyone that has the balls to ask. I see that Nancy Balance also gave Cox $170.
My Vote: Kim Dudik – she does a lot for the state, especially with children and human trafficking issues.
HD 95: Shane Morigeau vs. Curtis Bridges (With Cyndi Kenck in the wings)
I don’t know much about any of these newcomers. It’s an open seat here and Democrat Morigeau has raised $8,155 and spent $6,053.
Bridges has raised $12 while Republican Kenck has raised $0.
So how’d Morigeau get it so easy?
My Vote: I’d be tempted to leave this one blank as there’s no way Morigeau won’t win. What an anti-climactic race, and sadly, another Missoula Democrat that thinks they’re invincible. That’s a terrible mindset, but in this town it’s about all we’ve got.
HD 96: Andrew Person vs. Adam Hertz
This is an interesting race and I think it could be close. Incumbent Democrat Person didn’t win by a lot last time, and Hertz has lots of name recognition from his time on the Missoula City Council.
I expect some of the Williams Dinner money will be handed over to Person. We know they spend so much on themselves at that affair there’s only enough left for just a couple of candidates.
Person has raised $10,370 for the primary while Hertz has raised $16,209 for the general.
Hertz has bought 5,000 door hangers from the Political Company in Billings.
Andrew Person is way behind right now. Hertz is also serving as his own treasurer (all smart and capable people do this, and it’s a sign they won’t need their hand held in Helena, while Person is relying on Cliff Larsen for those duties.
My Vote: I’d vote for Person in this one because I’m a Democrat. I’m not sure that’d be enough – I think Person has a very good chance of losing this race (his district’s too rural).
HD 97: Nick Davis vs. Patrick Maloney (With Brad Tschida in the wings)
I don’t see Republican incumbent Brad Tschida losing this race.
Currently Democrat Davis has raised $2,099 for the primary and Maloney has raised $0 (no C-5 even filed).
Tschida has raised $1,080.
Well, my goodness – looks like I might be way off on this one! Gianforte and Harlan Wells both gave $170 to Tschida. For the most part, I thought this GOPer would be doing better.
My Vote: I’ll go with Davis but I still don’t expect him to win.
HD 98: Willis Curdy vs. Michael Bowles (with Michael Ellsworth in the wings)
I really don’t see incumbent Willis Curdy losing this race. So far he’s raised $2,280 and Bowles has raised $0.
Ellsworth has raised $920 for the general.
My Vote: This is the district I’m living in and I’ll be voting for Bowles. I won't be living in this district in November, however.
HD 99: Greg Strandberg with Susan Cundiff in the wings
I’ve profiled this race extensively earlier this week and won’t be doing so again.
The 2016 Missoula PSC Race (District 4)
Boy, Gayle Gutsche is killing it on the signs here in Missoula, especially the really large ones.
Despite that, Gutsche failed to file a C-5 campaign finance report by the deadline so we don’t know what her finances are.
We do know that Mark Sweeney has raised $21,435.
I hate this.
I hate that we have tons of people in the legislature that don’t have to work for their seats.
It’s not as common in the urban areas, but those rural spots that see just a couple hundred votes – if that – are often like that.
It creates a terrible mindset in people, one of entitlement and expectation that they’ll always win, that their positions are right, and that they don’t need to listen to others.
We see this a lot in the legislature – it’s why your life is so shitty!
Let’s face it – nothing will change. Dems have not had a chamber since ’91 and they haven’t had both since ’85.
Your life isn’t going to get better, not with the GOP shooting down all the Dem bills and Bullock playing defense on what gets through.
That’s why I don’t really care about most of these races – they don’t matter.
The 10- or 12-strong Missoula Democratic delegation and voting block is powerless in the face of a GOP-controlled legislature. Even when working with moderate Republicans we just get half-measures and quick fixes.
There’ll be no real change in Montana until we get that legislature.
Until our current “leaders” step off the stage, however, this will not happen.