That was the day James Conner over at Flathead Memo had his ‘outlandish’ claims.
Well, one of ‘em came true today, though many acted as if it was some big surprise.
I suppose seeing Angela McLean leave was. News broke on Twitter around 10 AM.
After reading the Flathead Memo post 26 days ago I pretty much expected that we’d see her step down or something to that effect.
At that point it’s just a guessing game as to when.
That ‘when’ was today. McLean served Montana as its 31st Lieutenant Governor for nearly 2 years, since February 10, 2014.
I guess she did a good job. What the hell does the lieutenant governor do, anyways?
Beats me. If you head on over to Ballotpedia’s article on Montana’s lieutenant governor, however, you’ll see a short two paragraphs explaining what that position does.
“The lieutenant governor performs duties provided by law and those delegated to him/her by the governor.”
So…the lieutenant governor serves at the governor’s whim, or doesn’t serve at all. To make it even more difficult, “the lieutenant governor cannot be delegated any duties specifically granted to the governor.”
Besides that we’re told Montana’s lieutenant governor:
- Welcomes international visitors when the governor is unable to do so;
- Serves on a number of state committees;
- Assists on a number of administrative policy initiatives.
- Provides advice and counsel to the governor.
Holy hell – that sounds like a shit job. What made it even worse for McLean is that she was second pick to Walsh. Yeah, Bullock chose her for expediency, convenience, and ultimately to cover his ass.
Remember, Bullock was taking a lot of shit over his decision to appoint Walsh to the U.S. Senate. And that was long before any of that plagiarism nonsense came out.
So this position has always been a liability to Bullock and I’m sure he views it that way still.
Now, let me make it clear these are my opinions. I liked McLean, thought she gave a pretty good show at the Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner.
Still, I can’t help but think that she was drowning in the lieutenant governor’s job. I’m willing to bet that six months into it she regretted leaving her teaching job.
I just feel she didn’t have much to work on and that she got some scraps from the governor’s desk to work on.
Who knows – maybe that’s the case in most administrations.
I just feel McLean got the short end of the stick, both in that position and in the way she had to leave, going to another agency and entering the applicant pool.
It just seems kind of shady, like she was being kicked to the curb. Some have even suggested she had her state social media account taken away a month ago.
Who knows? I don’t know.
Maybe we’ll hear more later from MTN (I wouldn’t count on the newspapers for much, and MT Cowgirl will likely have a spiel on McLean helping with Indian Education).
Alright, now let’s start to look forward.
Steve Bullock said that he’ll pick a new lieutenant governor soon. So…who will he pick?
Here are some likely choices:
- Linda McCullough: I heard this on Twitter today and immediately thought that it was likely. McCullough is term-limited out and doesn’t really have anything else to run for. This is a great way for her to stay in the game. Now…did she have a hand in forcing McLean out, perhaps with some office chats during break time? Maybe, but that’s just speculation. You’ll get that speculation here because few of the other sites will give that to you. For now, I’m going to put the odds for McCullough at 3:1.
- Galen Hollenbaugh: I heard James Conner mention this one and it seems likely. Hollenbaugh got shafted in his PSC bid last time, and I say that because I feel the party did not put enough effort into that race. My opinion is that the party views the PSC as worthless unless it can have a majority. That’s foggy thinking. Will Hollenbaugh be chosen as a way to groom a future statewide candidate…and maybe as someone that can attract some Deer Lodge voters? Perhaps, but I’m not convinced. I’ll put Hollenbaugh’s odds at 10:1.
- John Walsh: A few people put out this stupid idea, that Walsh might somehow redeem himself by coming back to his old position. For the life of me, I can’t understand why Bullock chose him in the first place. The military/veteran vote? I’m not convinced Walsh is that effective there. I know he wouldn’t be effective in the lieutenant governor’s office, but since that office doesn’t have much function, maybe he would. I’ll put Walsh’s odds at 300:1.
- Jesse Laslovich: I still like the idea of Jesse Laslovich, myself. (I’ll admit I made a mistake earlier and said Corey Stapleton when I meant Laslovich. WTF?) Anyways, it’s sure give him a leg-up in his run for State Auditor, don’t you think? Well, hold on – can he run for two statewide offices at the same time? Probably not, so that makes him unlikely. Now, what if he gave up his quest for Auditor? I think this is likely as I’m confident that Laslovich is being groomed for the governor’s office in 2020. Is that the case? I don’t know – I’m guessing here. I’ll still put Laslovich’s odds at 5:1.
- John Lewis: What the hell ever happened to John Lewis, you know, the guy that ran for U.S. House against Zinke last time? He kind of vanished off the edge of the earth, though I heard he was at a PSC fundraiser at the Iron Horse in Missoula a few weeks back. Could he be getting back in the game, or is he just doing favors? Maybe he’d do a favor for Bullock and take the lieutenant governor job. I think it’s unlikely. I’ll put Lewis’s odds at 50:1.
- Pam Bucy: Let’s start to get into the cabinet. Of all Bullock’s cabinet members, I feel Bucy is the most likely. First, she’s a woman so Bullock can score some points there. Next, Bucy has tasted defeat before. Does that make one more compliant? I’m not sure, but it does make you avoid time-sucks and useless mistakes. Right now Bucy’s at Labor and Industry and having her on the ticket could get some Townsend votes. I’ll put Bucy’s odds at 20:1.
- Sheila Hogan: Currently Hogan heads up Administration in Bullock’s cabinet. She’d do a lot to attract that female vote as well, though Democrats are counting on Hillary to do that too. I will put Hogan’s odds at 110:1.
- Mike Kadas: What Bullock really needs is a good filler candidate, one that can do the job and do it capably. That sounds like Missoula’s former mayor and current head of Revenue. I’ll put Kadas’s odds at 70:1.
- Dave Wanzenreid: Wanzenreid used to represent Missoula in the legislature and now he’s teaching in a college in Billings. Could Bullock tap some of that experience and wisdom? Perhaps. I’ll put Wanzenreid’s odds at 80:1.
- Ellie Hill: Missoula’s best-known political personality, besides Engen (Ugh), could be a contender here. She’s currently filed a C1 to raise money to run for the legislature again. Could Bullock tap her to serve? Mainly, I just feel that a woman will have to replace McLean. I don’t know why I think that, but I do. Ellie Hill has a strong voice and I’ll put her odds at 70:1.
- Tracy Stone-Manning: Would Bullock appoint his chief of staff to the lieutenant governor position. I want to say no, and I hope Bullock will say the same. Still, something tells me that the thought’s crossed his mind. Is that good for Montana? I don’t know – I don’t know enough about this woman. For now, I’ll put Stone-Manning’s odds at 150:1.
- Dave Parker: No, I’m not talking about the professor at MSU, I’m talking about Bullock’s senior advisor, and McLean’s as well. Could he get the nod? I find it unlikely, again, because he’s one of these cloak and dagger types, er…cloak room types, and they usually stay in the background, out of the light, away from human eyes. That’s just my opinion of professional political advisors. For Parker, I’ll put his odds at 160:1.
- Jon Sesso: How about a strong Butte Democrat, one that was responsible for bringing Amanda Curtis to the fore when she ran for his old House seat? I think he’s still got one term in the Senate left and he’ll likely be minority leader again. Of course, I could be wrong there as I’m terrible at keeping up on term limits…mainly because sites like Ballotpedia and VoteSmart are too. For now, I’ll put Sesso’s odds at 100:1.
- Chuck Hunter: If we head on over to the Montana House leadership we have Chuck Hunter. I’m pretty sure he’s term-limited out of HD 83 and has to make the jump to the Senate. I’m not sure what the situation is there, but maybe Bullock would like his experience full-time in Helena. I’ll put Hunter’s odds at 110:1.
- Brian Schweitzer: Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to look forward to the local news again? I feel that having Schweitzer back in Helena full-time would do that, for he’s always got interesting things to say. Since he has a new book out that profiles how Montana can better align itself with the new Obama EPA standards, why not let him back in? I’m pretty sure he’s allowed to run for lieutenant governor as he’s never held that office. What’s more, he’d draw a lot of voters to Bullock in 2016. Damn, this idea is sounding better all the time. I’ll put Schweitzer’s odds at 90:1.
- Pat Noonan: Something tells me that Noonan’s a contender. He’s got the political family, he’s got the Butte connections, he’s got a name known statewide. Sure, he’s running for the PSC right now, but it’s still early. I could fully see Bullock tapping him, especially as a way to say thanks for healthcare expansion. I’ll put Noonan’s odds at 20:1.
- Mike Cooney: I hear that Cooney is toiling away in Labor. It’d be a fitting end to his career to give him the nod through 2016, huh? That’s the thing…what is Bullock looking for in a lieutenant governor? Someone that can help win 2016 and then go, or someone that will last until 2020? I don’t feel Cooney would be the man for the latter, and probably not the former either. I’ll put his odds at 150:1.
Bullock has to pick someone for the co-captain of the state, even if that job doesn’t really do much.
For the most part, Bullock is looking for someone that can help him win in 2016. Angela McLean was not the person that was going to do that.
I think he might have been wrong about that, but that’s just me. For now, he still has to pick someone and these names I’ve thrown out are likely under consideration.
There are probably others as well. I don’t know who they are, but if you’d like to speculate on them in the comments, feel free.