That’s why he came to Missoula today, part of his larger Regulation Roundup tour.
Haven’t heard of it?
- Here’s the Regulation Roundup website.
- You can find the Regulation Roundup tour schedule through March 4 in this Google Doc file.
Democrats are of course falling all over themselves to paint this speaking tour as nothing more than a farce, or a failure.
Well, not all Democrats, just those working for the Bullock campaign.
I particularly liked this tweet sent out by one of the main Dem operatives:
Now, I’m not sure what the size of the Two Dot Bar is but…well, actually, I do know:
Also, please remember where Bullock’s campaign managers are from:
I expect they'll be gone shortly after the primary in June.
You can find that Two Dot image on the Greg Gianforte Facebook page, as well as a lot more from this tour and others he’s been on.
You’ll also remember that it was in Two Dot that the Democratic trackers following Gianforte were first spotted.
Still no word on whether the coordination between the Bullock campaign and the national PAC is illegal or not, though I think we all know it was.
Aside from those shenanigans, Missoula Democrats held a Missoula Women for Bullock event today.
I’m not sure if other urban areas are doing the same, but I suspect Nancy Keenan is making sure they do (we know Democrats have no power in the rural areas).
Maybe that Women for Bullock event and others like it will get Bullock a few more votes, but really, that’s just the converted preaching to more of the converted.
Perhaps that’s all the Regulation Roundup events are as well.
It seems like that a lot for both camps this early in the election cycle – they’re both just talking to supporters, not the people that really matter, independent voters.
That hasn’t stopped Gianforte from getting out there nearly everyday since February 4.
I know in Stevensville today they were damn happy to see him:
The media has covered some of these events.
David Crisp over at Last Best News had a story on February 9 called “Gianforte brings ‘Regulation Roundup’ tour to Billings.”
Crisp profiles the “sixth of 60 stops on the tour.” There were around 20 people in attendance at the event.
It was held at Lonewolf Energy and many of the people that went were “representatives of banking, the energy industry, flying services, sportsmen and hoteliers.”
Besides that, a PSC candidate and Montana House representative were there.
Crisp tells us that attendees “complained about workers’ compensation insurance, health insurance costs and the state’s infrastructure needs.”
Besides that, “many also apparently came simply to get to know the gubernatorial candidate.”
One of the things I like hearing from Gianforte is that he’d rather use state surpluses to fund infrastructure, not bonds.
Crisp notes that Gianforte “did not respond directly to questions” in many cases, particularly about hot-button issues that stray from his overall jobs issue.
That same day, February 9, Gianforte made it to Hardin and stopped at the 3 Brothers bistro for pizza.
Andrew Turck had the story over at Big Horn County News.
People mainly discussed “expensive health care costs, excessive environmental controls over coal production, unnecessary farm equipment taxes and state mismanagement of funds.”
Gianforte continues to harp on Bullock, saying the governor and his staff are living in a Helena bubble.
“They need to drive down to Whitehall and talk to the laid off miners,” Gianforte admonishes the Helena bubble. “They need to drive over to Deer Lodge and talk with folks who’ve been put out of work.”
One person that Gianforte talked with while in Hardin was a businessman who had to deal with excessive insurance rates. The man also complained about the state not enforcing the regulations it already has.
On February 11 Melinda Zosh had a story on KULR8 NBC called “Gianforte makes “regulation roundup” stop in Fort Benton.”
He was at Wake Cup Coffee to talk with “a small group of supporters,” or more precisely, “about a dozen.”
“Some of the folks who showed up Thursday were retired farmers,” we’re told, and Gianforte “took the time to get to know a little about his voters and to hear their concerns.”
That’s the thing – these are Gianforte’s voters. If you’re showing up to a Regulation Roundup, chances are pretty good that you’re not voting for Bullock.
Will that help Gianforte?
Well, anyone not voting for Bullock is a help. Plus, a lot of these people will go back into the community, talking with friends, family, acquaintances, the guy at the store, the guy at the feed lot, the guy at the repair place, and just about anyone else that’ll listen.
Protesters greeted Gianforte’s February 15 Butte appearance. He’d had nothing of the sort when he’d floated his ideas on January 27.
David McCumber had the protester story in the Montana Standard in a story called “Protesters greet Gianforte’s ‘regulation roundup’ stop in Butte.”
The bonanza took place inside and outside of Metals sports bar.
The protesters were mainly “young” and “elderly,” McCumber tells us, and they had signs that said things like “You can’t fool Butte” and “Labor supports Bullock.”
Democrats enjoyed pointing this out today on Twitter:
Inside, around “30 or 35” people listened to what Gianforte had to say when he spoke.
Gianforte later said that he “was disappointed that more of the people out on the street didn’t come in. I think we’d be a lot better off if we had a dialogue.”
So once again, the Democratic strategy backfires…if it was indeed their strategy.
To me, it’s about as laughable as the press conferences they gave on Gianforte’s campaign kick-off day.
Or some of the stuff they were doing on Twitter today. Still, the back and forth was...interesting:
Greg Gianforte’s Appearance in Missoula
Gianforte wasn’t the only gubernatorial candidate in Missoula today, at least according to the Montana Republicans’ site, which says Bullock planned to travel to the Garden City as well.
There was no real fear that the two men would meet. Bullock’s plane landed around 1 PM and Gianforte wasn’t going to get done with his Hamilton event until 3 PM.
Besides that, Democrats have the terrible propensity to only meet at people’s private residences, not at public places.
And they were about as far apart as you can get while still saying they were in Missoula.
For instance, today’s Women for Bullock event is being held at a private residence beside Mount Jumbo.
Before I unsubscribed from the near-constant Democratic emails, all fundraisers for Bullock were at private residences as well.
For the one today, it’s at least $50 for a ticket.
Hell, Gianforte’s event is free!
Actually, I don’t believe that Gianforte has held a single private residence event…that I know of.
For the most part he seems to want to meet in public, where anyone can come and meet him and tell him what they think.
Bullock doesn’t allow that kind of unfettered access, which strikes me as strange. Wasn’t the Democratic Party supposed to be the Party of the People?
In this case it’s just for people that can afford to go to Nancy Winslow’s house. Did I mention that Bullock appointed her to the Future Fisheries Review Board in 2014?
If she doesn’t float your boat, maybe Jeff Bridges will. He’ll be at a Bullock fundraiser at the Wilma in Missoula on March 15.
It’ll cost you the usual $50.
I got to the Missoula Regulation Roundup event around 3:50. It was in the back room of Jakers and there was hardly anyone there.
The chair of the Missoula Republican Central Committee was there, Von Dean, and another woman. I was about the third or fourth person to arrive, actually.
Another woman came and we sat together. She was older, in her 60s maybe, and her main issues were all the developments that are eliminating our natural lands.
She also said she was an independent voter and she did gripe about Democrats a bit, and the propensity of the university to not hire anyone for teaching positions that aren't Democrats.
By the time Gianforte started talking at 4:10 there was about 23 people including myself.
Gianforte got started off right away talking about high-paying jobs and the need for those.
His Regulation Roundup idea is intended as a way to identify those excessive regulations so Gianforte can “put them out to pasture.”
That’s why he was in Missoula today, to identify those pesky regulations that are hurting Missoula businesses.
Gianforte mentioned the electricians trade and how in Montana you need three master technicians while in other states you just need one.
I can understand that unions might not like that idea, but perhaps it’d create a better business environment. That’s Gianforte’s idea at least and that’s why he was talking.
A few more people filed in after Gianforte started talking. I'd say there were about 30 people in all.
He continued on with his message, delving into his story of coming to Montana. A strong talking point is that the Montana work ethic, coupled with strong leadership, makes anything possible.
Gianforte went on to mention some issues in Montana:
- Graduates moving out of state;
- Grandparents not seeing their kids and grandkids often enough because of this;
- The average college graduate earns $24,000 less than comparable graduates in other states.
Gianforte then launched into his telecommuting idea, which I’ve profiled before.
He mentioned that Montana is one of the leading states for remote working via the internet.
He mentioned the need for more 2-year degrees, fewer 4-year degrees. Our economy just isn’t set up for that, and we’re lacking in skills we need.
Gianforte thinks Montana government agencies in Helena are more concerned with enforcement than they are with customer service.
He talks about the huge wait times that agencies are requiring for the permitting process. This is causing companies to go out of business.
So we had a lot of talking points, a lot of staying on message.
The woman sitting next to me started off the questioning round by pretty much asking, ‘how do we get women to realize they can start businesses, they can get out there on their own and do it?’
Gianforte mentioned his mother-in-law and how they came to New York from Germany and how that mother-in-law worked in an office for 30 years so they could make it, and that without a high school degree.
He transitioned into talking about prospering and how we need to tell young people that they can have hopes and dreams and make things happen.
After that Adam Hertz talked. As many of you know, he was the lone conservative on the Missoula City Council for some time. He’s currently running for HD 96 against Andrew Person.
He’s concerned about the “shackles” put on city and county government by the state.
Some of these additions, like 32 bike racks, are making it too hard for businesses to start up, or keep operating if they’re slammed with one of these “wet blankets” that government puts on businesses.
Gianforte mentioned that he favored local control in those matters.
He also mentioned that the state has the same problem with the feds.
Hertz went on to mention that there is no hope for businesses or property owners at the local level. The government will continue to go to Democrats that don’t have experience with either.
In that regard, Hertz wants to constrain local government so they don’t put in those burdensome regulations.
Von Dean then spoke up, encouraging people to turn out to vote for people like Hertz.
One woman spoke up and said she wanted positions like sheriff and county recorder to be nonpartisan. She doesn’t like that people have to run on the Democratic ticket to win.
She owned two hotels and says that every time the city gets low on money the mayor is raising taxes to cover the problem.
Sam Sill of the Missoula Chamber of Commerce spoke up. He mentioned that the University of Montana and healthcare are our main industries and both are starting to stagnate.
He says that construction is one of the bright spots that could help us. He is concerned about water rights, however, mentioning the exempt wells decision by the Sherlock court.
Getting that one issue fixed will take 2 to 3 years and just won’t work for Missoula workers that are making minimum wage or close to it.
A businessman that just built a 40-unit housing unit that has to compete with a city housing unit.
The city unit is coming in at $200,000 a unit and the private developer is doing it at $90,000.
This developer and businessman is very concerned with how much waste is involved with whatever the city is doing. He’s tired of this “Berkeley of the West” attitude.
One young person brought up occupational licensing for child care workers, health care workers, some food workers and such. He says it’s hard for people to get off the ground.
Gianforte mentioned that in Montana we have lots of occupational licenses that require a form and fee, but no test. Do we need those?
There were a few more comments and then at 4:50 Gianforte wrapped it up.
I felt that people could have continued talking. I know I’d have been happy to gripe about taxes, government, and the incompetence of bureaucrats.
Gianforte then asked for everyone’s support.
That didn’t consist of envelopes being passed out, pleas for money.
Nope, it was a simple request to tell more people about what they’d heard and to vote for Gianforte.
The guy (or at least his staff) is putting up tons of images, links to his site, links to his Regulation Roundup site, and just about everything else to make it easy for people to get to know him.
Steve Bullock, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to want to be Governor of Montana. Honestly, it just seems like he wants to be the leader in Helena.
- Looking at Governor Steve Bullock’s Facebook page we see a much smaller social presence, with just seven posts made this month.
- If you look at Steve Bullock’s Facebook page it’s a little different, but still quite sparse on the content.
- Bullock’s campaign website also lacks information for voters.
For the most part, Democrats are content to attack Gianforte, hoping this pays off.
I’m not sure it will. Gianforte sticks to his message about jobs and bringing Montana families back together.
People eat that up.
That woman sitting next to me ate it up - "he's got my vote," she said to me shortly before I left.
That's the thing; you don’t have to convince Democrats and you might as well stop worrying about Republicans.
It’s the independent voters that you want.
How do you get them?
Considering that we know face-to-face contact is the best way to convince a Montana voter, Gianforte is doing well.
I mentioned that to the woman sitting next to me. She eagerly nodded her head.
Sure, there might just be a dozen people at some of those Regulation Roundup events, but gosh darn, those are 12 people that have had direct contact with the eventual Republican nominee.
That’s a big deal.
It’s true that just a few might ask a question, but I bet most will get a hand shake and a look in the eye and a friendly hello.
That’s a big deal.
I have to say again – word of mouth. Those people are going to talk to friends and family and everyone else…and they have 9 months to do it in.
That's a big deal.
So far, Bullock hasn’t been making that direct, face-to-face contact with the voters in those areas.
No statewide Democrats have, and looking at the candidate filings on the Secretary of State’s page, I can see that many areas don’t even have a Democrat filing yet.
Honestly, are you telling me we can’t find anyone to run against Jennifer Fielder, and this long after some of us have been griping about that?
This, and Bullock’s absence from the rural areas that Gianforte is frequenting, points to the fundamental problem Democrats have in Montana – they can’t identify with, or understand the needs of, rural voters.
Worse for Bullock, Gianforte is straying back into the urban areas, as we saw with his appearance in Missoula today. He’s not just cementing his base, he’s beginning to chip away at Bullock’s.
Of course there’s going to be blow-back and accusations from Democrats – they’re scared.
It’s when they ignore you completely that you know your message isn’t working.
So my message to Gianforte would be, keep doing what you’re doing! It seems to be working, though we won’t know until the first polls start and the last one comes in.
That last one will be on Tuesday, November 8.