Montana Democrats love their ringers; they love bringing in these young out-of-staters to tell Montana voters what to do.
Rarely does it work for them.
The latest ringer they’ve brought in is named Matt Fidel.
Matt got a job with the Montana Dems on March 23...the 8th day of our Great American Shutdown.
What did Dems see in this man to hire him?
Well...he worked for Corey Booker.
Holy fucking shit...are you kidding me - Corey Booker?!?
You mean that Corey-fucking-Booker?!?
Holy shit, no way! Wow, wow...I mean...wow!!!
Corey Booker was such a good candidate that he declared in February 2019, paid his staffers 51% of all the campaign revenue he brought in, and then dropped out in January 2020...nearly a month before the Iowa Caucus.
Yep, Corey was such a strong candidate that he couldn’t even make it to the first contest. I don’t think he ever did poll above 2-3%.
And Matt Fidel was one of his main guys.
I think that tells you a lot.
Matt is incredibly lucky that anyone would want him, that anyone would actually want to pay him money to continue to play at politics.
But the Montana Dems want him. In fact, they were so impressed by his ‘work’ with the Corey Booker campaign that they’re now paying him $1,000 a month.
As far as I can tell, Matt appears to be in his mid-to-late-20s.
Matt’s from Pittsburgh, and on Facebook he still lists that as the city he’s living in. He went to LSA, the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
While in school he cut his teeth working on Tom Wolf’s successful campaign for governor. Matt came off that success by graduating with a Public Policy degree just as the 2016 Election was kicking into high gear.
He did a lot of legislative staffer work after college, something he’d gotten a taste of while still a student. Then it was off to Iowa, where in 2018 he got a job with their state Democratic Party as a field organizer.
This caught Corey Booker’s eye, and the New Jersey senator hired him in March 2019, about a month after he declared his candidacy for president.
Matt had that job for 11 months, until this January.
After kicking around for a couple months, he somehow got a job here in Montana. I wonder how that happened.
It’s funny...because this all sounds so familiar to me.
Oh, that’s right!
Three years ago the Montana Dems did the exact same thing, hiring New Yorker Ray Lowenstein to be their new communications chief. They did the same the year before with New Yorker Chris Meagher.
Didn’t help them much.
Now Lowenstein is Tester’s press secretary, and I don’t know where Meagher is.
I imagine in a year or so Matt will be gone, off to another campaign or another state. Montana always has been a short stop on the road to career ambitions.
So from Pennsylvania to Iowa to Montana.
Matt’s last career stop before the Booker campaign was Iowa, where he spent five months working as a field organizer.
And how are the Democrats doing in Iowa?
Well, their two senators are Republican; their governor is Republican; and their legislature is Republican.
The state isn’t as red as Montana, however. Their AG is a Democrat and three of their four U.S. House Reps are Democrats...so they have that going for them.
That state’s gonna seem like a walk in the park compared to what Matt’s going to encounter here in Montana.
Iowa has 3.1 million people packed into 56,000 square miles while Montana has just over 1 million spread out over 147,000 square miles.
Iowa has a bigger Dem organization right now, too. In April the Dems there took in $240,000 in revenue, compared with the $80,000 the Montana Dems took in.
In other words, this seems like a real step down for Matt.
Yeah...let's take a moment to talk finances.
The Montana Democrats took in $80,000 in April (the latest report available) and spent $92,000, leaving them with $82,000 cash on hand going into the slow summer months.
I went through the entire 125-page report and counted 30 different people working for the Montana Dems leading up to the primary, though just 23 of them were actually drawing a paycheck.
The Dems were spending around $37,000 a month to keep those people on staff, and many of the staffers were from out-of-state, places like Oregon, Maryland, Illinois, Nebraska, and Georgia.
Matt Wiley is the staffer from Georgia, and he’s pulling in over $3,000 a month working for the Dems in some capacity or another.
The only ‘old dogs’ still in the kennel are Nick Lockridge and Trent Bolger, who make $3,922 and $5,039 a month, respectively.
Even the head of the outfit - Sandra Luckey - isn’t pulling in as much as Trent. She makes $4,536 a month.
Matt Fidel is getting the short-end of the stick. He makes just $1,019 a month...though perhaps he only worked half the month when he started and he’s making twice that now. I dunno.
I do know that 11 people make more than him, thousands of dollars more in six cases.
And most of those people don’t have muti-state political experience, including a stint working on a presidential campaign.
Something tells me that Matt’ll be gone when this cycle is over.
It’s the same story we’ve seen before, with young and idealistic out-of-state staffers brought in to somehow put the Dems over the top.
They work their hearts out and then in the primary we see 45,000 to 75,000 more people vote for Republicans than Democrats. That’s how many more voted in OPI and Governor for the GOP this year, respectively.
It was the same story in ‘16.
Aside from winning more votes, the Montana Republican Party seems to be winning more hearts and minds, as well as pocketbooks.
As a whole, the Montana Republican Party took in nearly $75,000 in April and spent about $83,000. They now have $304,000 cash on hand going into the slow summer months.
The Dems might raise a bit more, but they spend a helluva lot more too. The GOP has a businessman leading them; the Dems have a union rep. This is reflected in the finances.
The GOP has just seven staffers compared to the thirty the Dems have, and the GOP also has more money in the bank and more voters on their rolls.
Matt’s got an uphill battle ahead of him for the next 5 months.
A ringer should expect no less; it’s why they were brought in to begin with.
The home team knows they can’t do it alone.