The 2018 Montana Primary is over.
- You’re going to get lots of facts on the news sites, but little in the way of analysis.
- You’re going to get lots of attacks on the Dem blogs, but little in the way of explanation.
Just not on this site.
In fact, if you’re a Democrat or a partisan hack, I’d highly encourage you to stop reading this post right now.
- Stay in your bubble.
- Stay in your own little world, where everything is fine and last night’s results don’t spell doom and gloom.
Like I said, now’d be a good time to stop reading.
For everyone else, let’s begin.
- 60% of registered voters didn’t bother to vote yesterday.
- Just 4-in-10 Montanans felt that the current crop of D and R and Green and Libertarian candidates were worth showing up for.
- Jon Tester is a lot more vulnerable than previously thought. The GOP turnout in the Senate primary was 57% compared to the 42% that Tester got.
- The Greens aren’t even a factor in the Tester race, having picked up just 0.6% of the vote, or 1,574 votes.
- Democrats will amp-up their efforts to get rid of the Greens come November, thinking this is their big problem.
- From partisan hack tweets last night, it’s clear there will be no outreach to Green Party voters by the Montana Democratic Party, even if they’re kicked off the ballot. These voters have already been written off.
- Before last night, I thought Democrats would have their best chance since Nancy Keenan ran in 2000 to retake the House seat. I no longer think that.
- Greg Gianforte managed to pull in 54.6% of the vote last night in his uncontested primary, compared to the 44.7% that Dems managed to pull in.
- Again, the Green Party isn’t even a factor in this race either, with Doug Campbell picking up just 1,515 votes, or 0.61%.
- Some will inevitably claim that Kathleen Williams can’t win her November race, as she’s a woman and she supports gun control measures.
- Again, please remember that it was a woman that came closest over the past 24 years to taking this seat back.
- What we do know is that Gianforte will likely win his seat again in November, and he’ll immediately set his sights – and fundraising – on the open 2020 governor’s seat, Tim Fox being his only real competition, though with the cancer scare, he’s pretty much out.
- Dems have no real candidates for the 2020 gubernatorial race, and I fully expect that both Heenan and Kier will slink off and disappear, just as all the others defeated cycle-after-cycle in the House races have done before.
- Democrats are set to have their worst statewide showing since 2016, as it’s clear they’re going to lose the Clerk of the Supreme Court seat, which has been held by Dems for over 20 years.
- Well-connected GOPer, Bowen Greenwood, creamed newcomer Rex Renk in the Clerk race last night, picking up 56.7% to Renk’s 43.3%. And Renk outraised Greenwood by a lot.
- No one gives a shit about this race to begin with, and interest isn’t going to pick up by November. This seat is gone to the Dems.
- On a similar note, the PSC is also gone to the Dems, as both their District 1 and District 5 candidates came nowhere close to matching the turnout seen by the GOP candidates.
I don’t expect Democratic tactics or strategy to change.
I fully expect to see lots of anti-Rosendale posts, with the emphasis on him not being a real rancher.
There will be lots on him being from Maryland, despite the fact that he’s lived in Montana for 15 years, was in the legislature for 7 years, and has served as State Auditor for nearly 2 years.
Those charges didn’t convince Republicans to stay home, nor did they convince Republicans to vote for a native Montanan, like Russ Fagg.
What’s more, those charges didn’t do anything to boost turnout among Dem voters.
The carpetbagging strategy no longer works. Too many Montana voters have moved here over the past 10 or 20 years for that to matter. In fact, it now insults them.
Dems have been using this tired argument for months, but it didn’t help them get rid of Rosendale. They were worried before the primary, and now they’re damn scared. It’ll be a sad day in Helena, though Dems will find some way to spin this.
Or they’ll just go back to the same ol’ attack playbook, relying on more PAC money so they can ramp up their attacks, moving them from the blogs to the airwaves.
We also know that Democrats will now clamor for the Native and the veteran vote. The problem’s that Natives don’t vote and half or more of the veterans in this state are Republicans.
I personally hope that the Democrats keep doing exactly what they’re doing, as that way it’s much more likely we can finally get rid of Tester.
It’s the only way the Democratic Party will change, moving away from their insistence on identity politics, their kicking-to-the-curb on progressive issues, and all their PAC money and high-on-the-hog staffers.
It’ll take a generation for the Montana Democrats to recover should Tester lose in November.
I personally feel there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for Tester after having him in office for 12 years already. It’s clear that the man has become very corrupt – just follow the money, and the votes that come about after that money is delivered (think prescription drugs).
Enthusiasm for Rosendale will come quickly, as Republicans will rally around their candidate come November. Many votes for Rosendale will simply be votes against Tester.
Natives, veterans and college students won’t be able to overcome that red wave.
When it comes to the House, I don’t see any hope for the Dems and I don’t see a lot of enthusiasm for Williams among the Heenan/Kier/Moss crowd.
James Conner nailed it when he put up a post on Williams today.
Williams has a lot of outreach work to do this month and into July, just to try and pull the splintered Dem Party together.
It’ll be tough, and I don’t think she’ll manage it fully by November. I plan to vote for Doug Campbell on the Green ticket. If he’s gone by then, I’ll probably just skip this race.
Heenan was the only one that had a chance, in my mind…and even then it would still have been a likely Gianforte win.
As I said, Gianforte now has a clear path to the governor’s office.
Democrats claim to want clean energy and more wind and solar and such, but they can’t win the PSC races that would make this dream into a reality.
Democrats should think very hard on why they can’t win large regional races, like our PSC races. I fully expect them to charge ahead as usual, however.
It’s clear the legislature will go to the GOP again in 2019, and that Bullock will be too busy with his presidential ambitions to give a damn.
The only hope Democrats really have in this state is for the 2020 race. 2018 is already gone to them here in Montana.
Most of the candidates that ran and lost this year won’t be back in 2020. They’ll have moved on to cushier jobs, perhaps even in state government, like John Lewis did a couple years after losing the 2014 House race.
Democrats just don’t have the bench for long-term political strategy.
And that’s how I see it. I’m sure many won’t agree with me. Some might even chastise or belittle or attack me for saying such things.
But I don’t deal in fantasies; I deal in realities.
The reality last night was that Democrats have a serious turnout problem, they know it, and they don’t know what to do about it.
Little over the next 5 months will change that fact.