Things have changed from two months ago, when I told you about 14 different Missoula races, which together had 19 Democrats and just 5 Republicans.
At that time, 10 of those races didn’t even have a GOP candidate.
Has that changed?
Let’s find out.
HD 89: Incumbent Democrat Katie Sullivan will take on Republican Gary Wanberg.
HD 90: Incumbent Democrat Marilyn Marler will take on Republican Lana Hamilton.
HD 91: Incumbent Democrat Connie Keogh will take on Republican Bethanie Wanberg.
HD 92: Some behind-the-scenes politics took place this morning, and Hopkins convinced Shane Currey to drop out. Now it’s incumbent Republican Mike Hopkins against Democrat Tom Browder.
HD 93: This St. Ignatius/Ronan district has incumbent Republican Joe Read facing a challenge from fellow Republican Ralph Foster. Democrat Lisa Pavlock is also in the race.
HD 94: This open seat has Democrats Tom France and Jim McLean taking on Republican Kelsey Cooley.
HD 95: This open seat has Democrat Danny Tenenbaum taking on Republicans Rebecca Dawson and Karen Sherman.
HD 96: This open seat has Democrat Loni Conley taking on Republican Kathy Whitman. Democrat Dakota Hileman filed last-minute as well.
HD 97: This open seat has Democrat LouAnn Hansen taking on Republican Brad Tschida.
HD 98: This race has incumbent Democrat Willis Curdy taking on Republican Nancy Burgoyne and Libertarian Richard Armerding.
HD 99: This open seat has Democrat Mark Thane taking on Republican David ‘Doc’ Moore.
HD 100: This race has incumbent Democrat Andrea Olsen taking on Republican Carol Minjares.
SD 45: This open seat has Democrat Ellie Hill against Republican Mike Warner and Libertarians Nolen Skime and Terry Lucke. Yeah...two Libertarians in one Missoula race. I dunno the story there, but Lucke did file today. Hill’s a favorite to win in November, but got a last-minute primary challenger from Dem Erica Siate. This probably has something to do with the two women’s involvement in the cannabis industry. Democrat Benjamin Burda was also a last-minute filer for this race.
SD 46: This open seat has Democrats Alex Gray and Shannon O’Brien running against Republican Niki Sardot.
SD 47: This will be one to watch, as gun advocate and conservative, Gary Marbut, filed last minute to run as a Green Party candidate. Dan Saloman is the incumbent Republican out of Ronan. He voted for Medicaid expansion last session, so the hardliners in the GOP want to take him out. A Green on the ticket is one possible way to do that. A Democrat also filed today, Chase Porter Gay out of Frenchtown. Libertarian Devin Braaten is also in the race.
Here in Missoula, most of the GOP candidates are nothing more than placeholders, names to appear on the ballot so the GOP doesn’t look bad.
Few if any have a real chance of winning. Most of them don’t even have candidate websites or even a candidate Facebook page. The only one of the unknowns that seems to have a chance is Kelsey Cooley.
I’d be surprised if the GOP won anything other than HD 92 and maybe HD 97. Might not even get those two.
Champ Edmunds will challenge Will Deschamps in the primary, while the three unknown Dems - Tranel, Carlino, and Rosenberg - will battle it out for the next three months. Jennifer Fielder jumped into this race late today, giving us the three GOPers.
I’ve already seen a few Carlino signs around town, which seems awfully early to me.
Several weeks ago I told you that Tranel already had $25,000 in the bank, compared to $5,500 that Carlino had.
Then we had a bunch of reports that Tranel was actually a Republican, and a lot of letters to the editor saying she wasn’t.
I dunno...I don’t care. I think this race will stay with the GOP, and I suspect Deschamps will come out on top.
Outside of Missoula we have PSC #2, with two Dems and two GOP candidates. I consider Zolnikov to be the favorite here, but Billings isn’t my region so I can’t be sure.
PSC #3 has two Republicans, one Democrat and one Libertarian.
The AG race remains largely unchanged, with two Dems and two Republicans vying for the spot Tim Fox is termed-out of. The big news is someone named Roy Davis filing as a Green, which will hurt Dems.
The SoS race still only has the one Dem candidate, and he’s now running against six different Republicans. Corey Stapleton is giving up this job for his vanity run at U.S. House. I wonder what Stapleton will do when he loses this year, though I am confident he’ll be back running for something in two or four years.
Shane Morigeau was the only Democrat running for Auditor until yesterday, when Mike Winsor of Helena got in.
Winsor is an attorney in the Auditor’s office, so knows how the office works.
I think this is wise, as Morigeau was a rather weak candidate that was having some fundraising issues.
I don’t know anything about Winsor, and most Montanans won’t. I still think this race will probably go to the GOP.
No other Dems got into the OPI race, which means Melissa ‘drug den’ Romano is the only Dem candidate against Elsie Arntzen, though Great Falls Libertarian Kevin Leatherbarrow did get into the race on Friday, which will help Romano.
Besides that, just four Greens filed in the whole state - a Helena woman named Wendie Fredrickson for U.S. Senate.
Fredrickson used to work for DPHHS, but was fired after she blew the whistle on misspending higher-ups in the department:
“The story referenced interviews with a former DPHHS staffer, Wendie Fredrickson, who had left her job after being bullied by higher-ups after she flagged potential misspending by the state government.”
I wonder if she’ll pull more votes away from Bullock than Libertarian Eric Fulton pulls from Daines. I wonder if the state’s corporate media will report on this interesting drama with Fredrickson and the whistleblower complaints. Time will tell.
Another Green got into the Senate race late, someone named Dennis Daneke out of Lolo. Then very, very late in the day a Green got into the AG race, someone named Roy Davis.
Another Green Party candidate is Hamilton’s John Gibney, who’ll be running for the U.S. House. The Green Party denounced this person when he ran in ‘18.
We have a set for the governor’s race as well - the Robert Barb and Josh Thomas ticket out of Billings. I couldn’t find anything on these two.
It's going to be an interesting cycle, with Dems pissing and moaning the way the GOP usually does with the Libertarians.
Now, about all the rest of these folks.
I’m not excited about these candidates. I’m not excited to vote in the primary, nor am I excited to vote in the general.
The presidential race has a lot to do with this.
There are tons of disaffected and former Democrats like myself that voted for Bernie in the ‘16 primary, but then turned around and voted for Trump in the general.
Bernie will be on the June ballot here in Montana, but I’m not sure he’ll still be in the race at that point. Also on the ballot will be Liz Warren, for instance (Klobochar withdrew from Montana’s ballot today).
I wouldn’t even consider voting for Joe Biden, and I feel many younger voters will say the same.
I’ll probably vote for Trump again. I’d rather vote for Bernie...just like four years ago, but the Dems don’t want that so it looks like it’ll be Biden coupled with a very strong VP candidate, one that can pretty much do the work for him as he continues to lose his grasp on reality with dementia setting in.
Many conservatives are worried that Biden will pick Hillary or Michelle Obama. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
I think the thing that frustrates me the most is how boring all the candidates I listed in this post really are.
I wish we had some showmanship, and a lot less in the politically correct department.
Give me something to root for, damn it!
Alas, it’ll just be the same ol’ tired talking points as always, the same stupid mailers and the same stupid Facebook ads.
God, someone needs to shake up our stale political system - it’s long overdue.
Anyways, this is what we’ve got. This is our cycle.
I know...I know - it sucks. But we’ll get through it...somehow.