Greg, I don't know if you can use any of this. Sorry if it’s rambling as it was upsetting to me.
The convention was to start at 7pm at the Polson Library meeting room with a meet-and-greet first.
I arrived at 6:45 and was greeted warmly by two ladies and asked to sign in who I was, name tag, etc.
I knew no one in the room as this was my first meeting with this group.
AT 7 everyone had taken a seat. I counted and there was exactly 40, evenly divided between men and women.
I am 69. Half the room was 60 and up, the rest 50 to 60 with no one under 40. When it came to hair, very gray and all white.
In the meet-and-greet a lady 65-70 gave an introduction to me as vice chairman and asked whom I was and from which town. After giving my info she responded, “Oh the chairman has been trying to get a hold of you and you must be hard to get.”
I didn't respond, knowing the chairman had my number and e-mail so knew that wasn't true. He had even tried to contact me.
The vice chairman started the meeting with an announcement that the chairman was in Texas getting treatment for cancer and would have to have surgery, chemo and radiation treatment. The chairman I knew is also in their 60's but I was not aware of this info.
She then read the agenda and turned the meeting over to a man she called by his first name. He gave no info on who he was. He read some info on duties of precincts and list of precinct men and women.
Lake County has 20 precincts which means 40 positions. The democrats have 17 positions open, or 42%.
I was surprised I was on the list for Ronan 2 which I guess the chairman appointed me but I was never informed. When the agenda was handed out a ballot was included.
On the pre-printed ballot all present officers were listed as well as a list of present state committee persons.
I asked the gentleman who now seemed to be running the meeting how the lists on the ballot came about. He stated I believe the chairman asked them.
So I assumed there was no nomination committee. One gentleman who knew Roberts Rules stated, “I think motions are needed to nominate.”
At this point I asked the question, “Do you think the present chairman will be able to carry out his duties with all the cancer issues considering this a 2 year term which runs into next election cycle?”
I was immediately attacked by several people. Their responses were, “He works so hard, has done so much to build the local party, not putting him back in office will kill him and he will know when to quit.”
I explained I was not attacking him in any way but had been a nurse. I knew how hard chemo and radiation can be on the body and how it takes your strength away. I wanted to know if a plan was in hand to carry-on and was the vice chairman up to stepping up. I just let that go as I could see it was going nowhere.
I could have pointed out in my very long conversation with the chairman in late-March.
He stated to me he really didn't know much about Montana politics but was just learning. I could of pointed out if he was doing such a great job why in the last county primary did no democrats run like in the sheriff race where 7 filed all on GOP, none on the democrat side. Why have we not had a democrat county commissioner in last 19 years?
But the vice chairman was anxious to move on to the election. So I nominated all present officers. When nominations ceased I asked the gentleman doing the election if it was true only county officers can vote at state convention come June. I already knew that was so. But he agreed.
So then I stated that I was going to put the officers on the spot. I would like to know their views about the job the Executive Committee and Nancy Keenan were doing.
There was a long silence.
The vice chair stated, “We really aren't here for that.”
I then stated that I felt Keenan and the whole board needed to be replaced.
I went on to state, “How is it we lost 4 0f 5 major state offices, we lost a US Senate seat the democrats held for 50 years, we have not won the US Congress seat in 20 years, how is it we went from a 50-50 Montana House to a 59 GOP 41 democrat? I don't see any of that as a success under this leadership.”
One of the local officers turned toward me and said, “One year we elected 10 democrats and put their pictures up.” I had no idea what she was talking about or when.
Finally the vice chairman said she would respond. She said she felt Keenan was doing a good job, is a loyal democrat, works hard, is a fine woman and has built the party.
I immediately responded to that as I stated, “Why were there only 26 county committees and none in rural areas where Quist went out and built new ones in 7 counties and that’s how he got the nomination?”
But the vice chair stated she will support Keenan in June. I already knew where the absent chairman stood from my March talk with him. He also thought Keenan did a good job and wasn't really her fault we lost all those offices as it was just a hard year and we did win the Governor’s race.
The other officers refused to comment on Keenan’s job and were very quiet. I think they were shocked by the statements.
One man that had come in that I didn't notice spoke up. He stated he was a tribal attorney and gave his name. I noted on the ballot he was listed as the state county committeeman. He actually may be under 40. He stated that he did tribal lobbying last legislative session.
He stated he had been asked to be a committeeman and was new to politics but had meet Keenan in Helena during the 2017 session and found her helpful and a pleasant lady so he was also going to support her, which I found interesting knowing so little about her and democrat politics.
I know I will sound politically incorrect here but feel he is their token Indian and knowing little of the game will follow where the officers lead. I think I could convince him different with facts.
So there are 6 votes for Keenan with the group from Lake County. We did vote for officers, though I don’t know know why as only people on ballot but vice chair had no idea how to run meeting by Roberts Rule.
They did not announce results but just said same officers won. I didn't vote for them. One lady said she felt some change needed to happen in Helena as no one at party headquarters answers the phone nor returns calls.
I found it interesting only 2 of all the officeholders had the guts to state their opinion. I only became aware that there were maybe 6-7 Bernie Sanders supporters there when one lady pointed out change of venue in Missoula and vice chair pointed out how vocal the lady had been for Sanders.
The Sanders group sat together but said nothing in Keenan discussion which I didn't understand due to the fact how Keenan was a big Hillary supporter and screwed them over.
I saw hardly any enthusiasm for Quist there.
I recall maybe 4 people wearing a Quist pin. There was no Quist literature nor any plan for a rally or get out the vote efforts. One man spoke for Quist. He is a long time friend of Quist and lives in Kalispell.
I stayed calm and presented facts but felt no one listened or cared. It felt more like a social gathering among long-time friends, not a meeting on how to change the message to maybe win.
A democrat representative from the area gave a short talk about how terrible it felt to have ever single democrat bill voted down. I doubt he runs again, has health issues and being in the minority is terrible. He also stated the dems didn’t get to sit on any committees they wanted to be on.
He was honest in that he doesn't see it getting any better for democrats next election either. Someone asked him how he got elected in such a red county. He said, "I talk to republicans, not just democrats."
After the meeting four different ladies came up to me and said I was a rabble rouser, but two said it was needed. I don't view myself that way but just as a person that has a different point of view from the status quo, and with facts to back my view point.
The vice chair kept her distance from me after the meeting and of course did not thank me for coming. In fact my precinct committee woman said to me after the meeting, “Well do you still want to do this?”
I said why not. I guess they want me to fade away because I didn't hear what I wanted. I have a thick skin and I have been in campaigns since 1968.
Two ladies with Quist pins on asked me what I thought of Quist’s chances. I said he will lose by at least 10%. They both agreed and both stated the Quist campaign has been run horribly.
I knew why there was little support for Quist in the room as I knew the officers had voted for Curtis every ballot in March. I also realized the next day why they support Keenan as well.
The officers were all Hillary supporters and the women fit the Hillary demographics of older, white women. And since Keenan was a Hillary person they feel they can't see another woman kicked out.
These women are also big abortion-rights supporters and that of course fits right in with Keenan’s views, since she was big with NARAL Pro-Choice for so many years.
During the meeting one lady insisted the reason democrats are losing is due to Citizens United.
She tried to make untrue statements that democrats can't raise dark money. Well, I guess she didn't check out Hillary's funding.
I really see little difference in the two parties as both don't believe in the facts right in front of their noses. I guess I will find out very little about what is going on in the Lake County Democrat Party as I don't think my phone will be ringing to invite me to their functions.
Keenan will easily get re-elected and the losing will continue.