Questions Surround Racicot’s Endorsement of Beth Baker
Former “Republican” Montana Governor Marc Racicot‘s letter to the editor (QCN, Sept. 29, 2010) endorsing Beth Baker for Montana Supreme Court Justice, may not be as puzzling as it appears at first glance….
Beth Baker beat Nels Swandal in the race for Montana Supreme Court Justice earlier this week. Although Swandal was, from the beginning, the underdog in the race, many consider Racicot’s endorsement as one that sealed Swandal’s fate. While Baker campaigned as a non-partisan candidate, Swandal refused to deny his conservative values. While she may portray herself otherwise, an analysis of Beth Baker’s political contributions (to only democrats or “non-partisan” judicial candidates over the last 17 years) combined with her endorsements from liberal environmentalist groups (her husband Tim Baker is former head of Montana Wilderness Association and currently their legislative campaign coordinator) imply that Baker is hardly non-partisan.
Let’s look at Baker and Racicot’s history…. In 1989, Beth Baker became an assistant attorney general with the Montana Department of Justice after four years as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Charles Lovell. As assistant attorney general, Baker worked under Republican Attorney General Marc Racicot and Democrat Attorney General Joe Mazurek and became chief deputy of the department in 1997. She is currently in private practice as the managing partner for the law firm Hughes, Kellner, Sullivan and Alke, PLLP in Helena. Racicot said in his letter to the editor, in reference to Baker:
…Montanans could elect no better candidate to their Supreme Court than Beth Baker.
…we both believe that Beth is the embodiment of what a judge ought to be.
…In this race, and especially with this candidate, our party affiliations are irrelevant.
One questions why a “conservative” former governor/RNC Chair/Bush campaign manager/DC lobbyist would publicly endorse- jointly with a Democrat- a clearly liberal environmentalist with no judicial experience.
Next: Part II