This year, Montana’s Republican Party has an opportunity to change the face of the GOP, to elect competent bright leaders who are unsullied by incestuous relationships with lobbyists. Who will win the GOP Gubernatorial nomination and perhaps defeat Steve Bullock in the general election?
Stapleton/Keenan- Tonight via a teleconference town hall, GOP Gubernatorial candidate Corey Stapleton announced his selection of former Montana Senate President Bob Keenan as his running mate. Stapleton and Keenan were both elected by their peers to lead the Montana Senate, Stapleton in 2007 as Minority Leader and Keenan as 2003 Senate President. Stapleton bested all of the other candidates in the last fundraising quarter and will surely benefit from Senator Jeff Essmann bowing out of the race, especially considering they both hail from Yellowstone County. Keenan lost the 2006 Senate Primary against scandal-plagued incumbent Conrad Burns who went on to lose the race to Jon Tester.
Ken Miller/Bill Gallagher- Ken Miller recently announced that Bill Gallagher of Public Service Commission infamy will be his running mate. A political newcomer, Gallagher adds virtually nothing to Miller’s colorful resume of non-accomplishments (dairy farming, woodcrafter, construction worker, former furniture outlet owner, former GOP party chair). Miller’s last run for governor resulted in a third-place finish in the four-way primary.
Rick Hill/Jon Sonju- Hill leads the other nominees in fundraising, but any support for his campaign seems reluctant at best and his “family values” are at the bottom of the pack. I will excerpt Montana Cowgirl for this commentary as I’m frankly too bored and irritated by this sleazy ticket to come up with anything original:
“Sonju and Hill have both earned a huge portion of their wealth from Government spending. Some of this spending has provided good stimulus for Montana; others, like the giant payments to Hill’s landlord business, are wasteful and sleazy. These contracts were most likely over-market, sweetheart, inflated rent payments. They were put under Hill’s Christmas tree by his buddies Martz and Racicot, and Hill collected this easy cash for decades while he was a sitting Congressman and also while his wife was in the Governor’s office puling the strings. It’s not pure welfare, but it’s pretty close.”
Neil Livingstone/Ryan Zinke- The Livingstone-Zinke ticket is having difficulties fundraising and there have been few, if any; sightings of their flashy campaign RV. Livingstone is known far-more for his international terrorist-hunting/negotiating escapades than for any activity in Montana.
Bob Fanning/Chuck Baldwin- This ticket frightens me. I will leave it at that.