It appears that Montana Republicans will have yet another choice in the 2012 Gubernatorial race as former US Representative Rick Hill is emerging from a decade-long retirement to announce his candidacy on Monday, November 8. Hill joins the list of GOP candidates, former Montana Senate Minority Leader, Corey Stapleton of Billings and Ken Miller, former Montana State Senator of Laurel.
With no shortage of pride, Hill mentions in the Gazette article announcing his impending announcement, that he is a “fixer”, and he “knows how to work a room”. Although rumored to have been voted the meanest congressman by congressional staffers in one term and runner-up in the other, he claims to know a lot about leadership.
As a lifelong Montana voter, I found it a bit offensive that in defending his advanced age, he pointed to 72-year-old California Governor-Elect Jerry Brown. Is there not a better analogy than a has-been life-long politician advanced by the brilliant voters in a bankrupt state? Maybe not.
Rick Hill’s surprising departure from Montana politics in 1999 came after his criticism of his opponent having no children (despite him abandoning his own after being unfaithful), revelations of “serious eye problems”, and rumors of yet another affair. Dropping out of the race so suddenly led many to believe a scandal of huge proportions was plaguing Hill’s bid for re-election. Since leaving politics, he has apparently obtained a faux-law degree from an unaccredited online university and been “active in many republican campaigns”. A Helena Independent Record article mentions that many consider him the “Dean of the state GOP”. Yes, he does remind me a bit of Howard Dean.
In an apparent attempt to appear technologically savvy, Hill planned an electronic town hall meeting Monday night. We were unable to locate any Republicans who had been invited to this meeting (which sources say is now cancelled) and considering there were supposedly 18,000 of them, that does seem odd.
After taking such a long break, enjoying his retirement and nursing his eyes back to health, perhaps Hill should set his sights a little lower. At the very least, he would be well-served by avoiding any comparisons to the other ego-centric blowhard currently holding the office. I suggest a strong dose of humility. Montanans are tired of the typical old man politician and his elect-ability is questionable at best.