US News October 30, 2019 link
Montana: Open seat (Democrat Steve Bullock is term-limited)
Montana is a red state, but the Democrats have held the governorship since winning the 2004 election, and the open seat created by presidential candidate Bullock’s departure has Republicans primed for a takeover that could enable enactment of a largely stalled conservative agenda.
The GOP has two well-known candidates – two-term Attorney General Tim Fox and U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte – as well as a lesser-known candidate, surgeon, and state Sen. Al Olszewski. Fox is considered a pragmatist who has support from moderate Republicans while Gianforte, a multimillionaire former tech CEO, is a favorite of conservatives.
Some Republicans worry that Gianforte could be a harder sell to general election voters; he’s best known for body-slamming a reporter, which resulted in a sentence of 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management classes. But Gianforte has outpaced Fox in fundraising and is wealthy enough to self-fund his campaign.
Republicans consider this their top gubernatorial pickup opportunity in the country, but a Gianforte victory in the primary may afford Democrats their best shot at keeping control of the governor’s mansion.
[End US News report]
Previous PolyMontana posts on Greg Gianforte: Link
Montana 2016 election review on November 24, 2016
The Montana GOP was lucky because Donald Trump’s popularity pulled all the Republican candidates ahead. The Montana GOP made a mistake in not realizing Trump would win by so much. Many tea party players who dominate the Montana GOP did not support Trump. In fact, they went to the Republican Convention intent on rejecting Trump and nominating Ted Cruz.
Here’s the results of Montana’s key statewide votes.
Attorney General Tim Fox pulled 68 percent of Montana’s vote, significantly beating Donald Trump. The only Republican to lose a Montana statewide election was governor candidate Greg Gianforte. Bullock beat Gianforte by 52 to 48 percent while Trump beat Clinton 60 to 36 percent. This would happen only if Montana voters do not like Gianforte.
The Montana GOP and Gianforte made a serious mistake by not supporting Donald Trump. I advised Gianforte personally to connect himself with the Trump campaign and to adopt Trump’s positions on the issues. Gianaforte did not attend Donald Trump’s widely-viewed primary rally in Montana and did not connect his campaign with Trump’s.
Former Montana Congressman, Rick Hill, lost his bid for governor in 2012. Gianforte accepted loser Hill’s advice on how to win in 2016. Gianforte should not have chosen Hill as his political advisor.
Hill was very much against Donald Trump. Hill continued to claim on Twitter and Facebook that Trump could not win, that Trump was an “authoritarian,” and that Trump should release his tax returns. I argued back on Twitter and Facebook that Hill was wrong and that Trump would win the presidency and win strongly in Montana. Hill’s response was to call me “stupid” and block me on Twitter and Facebook.
Lesser-known Republicans Stapleton, Rosendale, and Arntzen won their statewide races. Rosendale and Arntzen won by small margins and were helped more by Donald Trump than by the Montana GOP. Their wins and Gianforte’s loss indicates Gianforte has serious negatives in Montana.
Democrats would have won more legislative races if they had simply connected their Republican opponents with their votes against the critical 2015 legislative bill, SB 262, Montana’s CSKT Water Compact.
Far-right tea party Republicans – i.e. those US News calls “conservatives” – opposed the Compact. Gianforte contributed to Republicans who voted against the Compact. Look who got the most votes in the election. Tim Fox and Governor Bullock supported the Compact.
Lesson for 2020:
Congressman Greg Gianforte could have won reelection if he had run as an incumbent for Congress. But, he violated his promise to remain in Congress by running a second time for governor of Montana. His decision to leave Congress opens the door for a Democrat to take his seat in Congress.
In the 2020 election, I predict the four key issues that will determine who is elected governor are (a) Gianforte’s body slamming a reporter, (b) Gianforte’s belief that the universe is 6000 years old, (c) Gianforte’s opposition to the CSKT Water Compact, and (d) Gianforte’s lack of qualifications to run the State of Montana.
(a) Who can get away with body slamming a reporter?
Probably only Greg Gianforte because he can buy his way out of the consequences.
(b) How old is the Earth?
The Earth is billions of years old. To believe otherwise requires rejection of a significant amount of science knowledge. The belief that the Earth is 6000 years old is not a matter of freedom of religion. Science is about what we can measure. Religion is about what we cannot measure. Religion cannot dictate science any more than science can dictate religion. Those who cannot understand the dividing line between religion and science become irrational.
Gianforte believes dinosaurs walked the Earth in the last 6000 years. His belief contradicts all historical records. He has promoted his belief with his donations to a museum in Glendive.
Gianforte is decidedly not anti-dinosaur, a fact he can prove with a $290,000 donation receipt to the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum, the second largest dinosaur museum in Montana. Here’s the catch: The Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum teaches that the world is between 6,000 and 6,400 years old, that dinosaurs lived among humans and voyaged on Noah’s Ark, and that they subsequently went extinct because of overhunting or climate shifts.Inverse
No doubt, those who believe the Earth and universe are 6000 years old are solidly in Gianforte’s camp. They are mostly the far-right Republicans. But they don’t have enough votes to win a statewide election. A well-funded Republican primary that deludes enough voters, maybe. But no way a statewide election.
About one in ten Americans believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. About 80 percent of Americans acknowledge that continents have been moving for millions of years. And, as a measure of their science IQ, only 75 percent of Americans are aware that the Earth revolves around the sun. Science education in America is definitely lacking. Nevertheless, it is difficult to imagine that Montana’s education system is so bad that Montanans would elect an anti-science governor. It ain’t gonna happen.
(c) Who wants the CSKT Water Compact?
About 70 percent of Montanan’s want the CSKT Water Compact.
The far-right “Gianforte” Republicans oppose the CSKT Water Compact. They want to force Montanans to endure a generation of very expensive, water-rights lawsuits that they would lose to the tribes. They want to stop business growth because of uncertain water rights.
Tim Fox supports the Compact. The Compact will improve Montana’s economy. Montana farmers, ranchers, and irrigators overwhelmingly support the Compact. Northern Ag Network is one example. These organizations will have a strong influence on the 2020 vote. My book, “Montana’s Last Indian Water Compact,” describes the Compact’s law, history, and politics.
In the 2018 election, Montana voters opposed Republican Matt Rosendale because he opposes the Compact. All of Trump’s horses and all of Trump’s men could not pull Rosendale over the finish line. Rosendale’s opposition to the Compact gave Democrat Senator Tester another six years in the Senate. Now, Rosendale is running for Gianforte’s seat in Congress. If Rosendale loses to the Democrat, it will be Gianforte’s fault for not running as in incumbent.
(d) Who is qualified to run the State of Montana?
Only those who have held elected offices in Montana are qualified to run the State of Montana. The governor’s office is not the place for on-the-job training.
Attorney General Tim Fox is extremely well qualified for governor. He has helped all Republican issues in his 8 years as attorney general. Dr. Al Olszewski is qualified to run the State of Montana because he has served in the Montana Senate.
Greg Gianforte has zero experience in the Montana government. What would Gianforte do to Montana? You can’t believe his promises because he breaks his promises.
If Fox wins the primary, he will be Montana’s next governor. If Gianforte wins the primary, a Democrat will be the next governor … again. US News seems to agree. The race for Montana’s governor will be determined in Montana’s primary election on June 2, 2020.