It’ll go until Tuesday, March 17. Yep, St. Patrick’s Day. That’ll be one of the highest traffic days for the ol’ COPP website, as the candidates that have already filed eagerly look to see if they’ll have any challengers.
This is especially true for Missoula County, where Democrats reign supreme. For many of these folks, if no one files to run against them by March 17, they’ll have an almost-assured victory come November.
Many have filed in Missoula, and today we’ll look at these eager beavers, these folks that were ready on Day 1 to get their names out there, their message across.
We’ll know a lot more about them on April 5, which is when their first campaign finance reports are due.
My how those reports tell us so much!
But that’s for another day. For now, let’s see who these people are.
HD 89: Katie Sullivan (D)
HD 90: Marilyn Marler (D)
HD 91: Connie Keogh (D)
HD 92: Thomas Bowder (D) and Mike Hopkins (GOP). Bowder seems to be a New York transplant. I don’t think he poses any challenge to Hopkins. A primary challenge for Hopkins might be concerning.
HD 94: Kelsey Cooley (GOP) and Tom France (D) and SK Rossi (D). Cooley recently graduated from UM with a Political Science degree. She was part of student government there. I don’t think Tom France has much to worry about in this race. He’s in good with the environmental nonprofits. Missoula liberals love that stuff. Rossi is a Missouri transplant that works for the ACLU.
HD 95: Danny Tenenbaum (D) is not messing around. He already has a candidate website up. Seems like he has a good shot, unless the Dem establishment takes a disliking to him and shoots him down. The GOP probably doesn’t have anyone lined up for this seat. The Missoula GOP is very lackluster with leadership and often doesn’t pose any kind of substantive challenge to Dem supremacy here.
HD 96: Loni Conley (D) and LouAnn Hansen (D) and Tara Walker Lyons (D) and Kathy Whitman (GOP) are all running for this seat that Tom ‘TIF’ Winter is abandoning. Conley is a nurse that has worked all over Western Montana. Hansen is a Missoula teacher that also taught in Bozeman. She’s relying on Facebook and already taking donations. The only thing I found on Lyons was a sex abuse story from 2018 and a settlement she got because of what she suffered. Whitman seems to work for the local Chamber of Commerce.
HD 97: Brad Tschida (GOP) is a well-known Republican. I think he’ll be a shoe-in.
HD 98: Willis Curdy (D) is running for his last time, will probably win, and will probably jump to the Senate at some point. Has it already been six years since I first ran against him?
HD 99: Mark Thane (D) headed up Missoula schools for years. He’s a shoe-in for this seat that Marilyn Ryan is abandoning.
HD 100: Andrea Olsen (D) will easily get reelected in this ‘donut district’ in the center of town.
SD 45: Ellie Hill (D) won’t face any serious challenges in this race. She's serious. I actually got one of her flyers in the mail today. Damn, that's early. I think it ended up where most will end up - in the big trash can next to my mailbox.
SD 46: Alexander Gray (D) and Shannon O’Brien (D). Gray is an Indian that has lobbied the legislature on marijuana issues before. He has a website. O’Brien is a former teacher that worked as policy advisor for Governor Bullock. Seems like she has this one wrapped-up already.
Daniel Carlino (D)
Brett Rosenberg (D)
Monica Tranel (D)
Will Deschamps (R)
14 Missoula races.
19 Democrats have filed; 5 Republicans.
Did I mention the Missoula GOP has a leadership problem?
Lots of elected legislators from Missoula jumped ship this year to run for higher office. There are a lot of new names.
I don’t know about many of them. The ones that are still around are clinging to what terms they have left before they have to make the jump. Sadly for Dems, there aren’t as many Missoula Senate seats as there are House seats. So some have to sit out.
When it comes to the PSC, I dunno. The GOP always seems to take this, and Deshamps is a strong candidate. The Dems are all unknowns.
We’ll see how things shape up as we get closer to March 17.