Eight Isn’t Enough: The Axis of EGO Plans a “MAJOR” Announcement


Jeff Essmann plans to make a “major announcement” later today.  Perhaps he would like to apologize to the medical marijuana patients and growers for creating health-endangering legislation that makes compliance nearly impossible.  More likely, however,  Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann (Billings, Prohibitionist/Tax Increase Party) is going to stop with the “exploratory committee” insantity and finally announce his run for Montana’s Governor tomorrow. Senator Essmann in a shocking move (not) has hired Dustin Frost, of 47 North Communications, to manage his campaign.  Frost, a former Rehberg staffer who received massive head injuries in a Flathead boat wreck a few years back; was recently quoted in the Flathead Beacon’s article “Schweitzer’s Successor“.

State Sen. Jeff Essmann from Billings is “actively considering” a run. And, according to the AP, he is being encouraged to get in the race by GOP consultants with close ties to Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg. Dustin Frost, Rehberg’s former state director and a partner in 47 North Communications, said Essmann would be a “heavyweight” if he runs.

“He’s being encouraged……… by consultants with close ties to Rehberg”, wow…. talk about a shameless name drop.  It sounds like Mr Frost was in reality only promoting his employer.  Should Montanans be influenced by the endorsement of a candidate’s employee- a paid campaign consultant? Not this Montanan.

The GOP ticket was already uncomfortably crowded, with already ample representation from Yellowstone County– Former State Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton, Former State Senator and previously unsuccessful Gubernatorial candidate Ken Miller, and rising political star Keith Winkler…. perhaps that was a bit of an exaggeration.  Other Republicans running include former US Congressman Rick Hill from Helena, Neil Livingstone, a terrorism expert based in DC (although his home is in Helena) and James O’Hara, a Chouteau County  Commissioner. Earlier today, Drew Turiano of Helena filed for the race as did Robert Fanning, a retired CEO now living in Pray.  Current AG Steve Bullock is expected to be the Democrat Party nominee, but is planning a contested primary with Larry Jent.  Ron Vandevender is running as a libertarian.

Thanks to Montana’s disenfranchised medical marijuana patients, Essmann attained the level of name recognition necessary to run for a statewide office when he authored SB423, to repeal Montana’s medical marijuana law.  In a field chock-full of conservatives, let’s differentiate Essmann from his peers.

  1. Taxes.  Essmann’s legislation provided many Montanans the sharpest tax increase in their lifetimes.  It was unexpected and during a recession.
  2. Personal Responsibility. When Essmann approached Governor Schweitzer to complain about the implications of the above legislation, the Governor said “Essmann complaining about his bill is like the architect that was warned by the engineer over and over again if you build it that way, it will fall down.”
  3. Family Values. With a penchant for liberal ladies (his wives are all lefties) Senator Essmann is childless.  Perhaps he has a puppy or something instead.
  4. Smaller Government. Essmann isn’t one to challenge the federal government. If the feds consider it illegal, he certainly won’t defend your right to use it.  Oh yeah, unless we are talking about guns, wolves, or Obamacare.   He forced massive taxes on property owners and rescinded the rights of tens of thousands of medical marijuana patients to access their medicine safely. I guess his ideology borders on hypocrisy.
  5. Liberty.  Essmann’s baby, SB 423 is a clunky, oppressive prohibition bill.  It overturns a very popular citizens initiative and essentially sends the sickest people in our state to the dark alleys to obtain necessary medicine. Several primary components have already been ruled unconstitutional. An initiative by Patients for Reform, Not Repeal has officially qualified the law for the 2012 ballot to enable voters to decide its verdict, with a particularly incredible showing in Yellowstone County, even in Essmann’s own district.  Note:  Essmann refused to sign the petition.
  6. Support.  Although the rumor is “Essmann already has more money than the other candidates combined”, we know if that is the case, it is his own.  Montana’s campaign laws prevent candidates from raising money until officially filing candidacy with the state so the money, if there is any; is likely his own cash.  The lovely ladies from Safe Community, Safe Kids are no doubt on board and his biggest fan is rumored to be Tom Hauptman, an oil player who has contributed to Rick Hill in the past.

Being Governor has reportedly been Essmann’s lifelong dream but  Essmann as governor would be Montana’s nightmare. Good luck to Frost.  Creating excitement in a campaign is difficult with such a dull candidate (thus, this “major announcement”). Last session, thankfully Essmann provided us with plenty of campaign material.  Regardless of his wealth, I don’t think Essmann has any chance in this race.

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Breaking….. Yes, Denny is Challenging Jon Tester (Is anyone really surprised?)


All of the speculation surrounding Denny Rehberg‘s political plans for the future is being put to rest. Thankfully rollcall.com is breaking the “news” that Denny Rehberg is indeed challenging Jon Tester‘s senate seat.  I was getting really tired of sitting on the info while political insiders claimed he was focusing on his House seat now in light of the successful fundraising by Steve Daines.   Michele Bachmann is speaking at the Lewis & Clark Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner where Rehberg is expected to make his announcement.

Steve Daines is expected to announce Thursday that he will be dropping his senate challenge to Tester and instead running for  Rehberg’s empty house seat.  Daines was off to a great start fundraising and it is doubtful that he could have raised so much so quickly running for US Congress.

Tester has made quite a few enemies on the left lately, in part due to his vote against granting amnesty for children of illegal aliens.  He’s managed to run under the radar in Montana however, voting exactly like Max Baucus most of the time while escaping criticism.  Will Rehberg’s challenge produce a Republican senator from Montana or will our state lose all GOP representation in DC?

 

Denny’s Fresh New Deterrent to 2012 Senate Run


Will chairing powerful subcommittee be enough to deter Denny Rehberg from challenging Senator Jon Tester in 2012?

Montana’s Representative Denny Rehberg,  was today named chairman of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, one of three subcommittees within the powerful  House Appropriations Committee.  Congressman Rehberg’s approval by Speaker Boehner and the House Republican Steering Committee was unanimous, he has served on the committee since 2005.

The question of Rehberg’s 2012 political intentions remains.  Will he be satisfied with his higher profile role in Congress or will he finally decide to run for Senator Jon Tester‘s US Senate seat in 2012?

Rumors have been circulating for months and the Rehberg camp has been relatively silent on the Congressman’s plans for the future.  Republican businessman Steve Daines of Bozeman has already announced a challenge to US Senator Jon Tester and many Montanans would prefer to avoid placing Rehberg and Daines in a contested primary.  Some speculate Daines would drop out as a courtesy to Rehberg and would instead run for the Rehberg’s US Representative seat, but neither side has confirmed any such plans. Interestingly, Rehberg was also rumored, albeit to a lesser extent, to be considering running for Montana governor.  Some Montana Republicans are frustrated with Rehberg, accusing him of actively thwarting the fundraising efforts of Republican candidates for both positions in question and are encouraging him to make a decision. When asked about Rehberg’s Senate prospects in 2012, spokesman Jed Link said “Denny is focused on doing the job the overwhelming majority of Montana voters sent him to Washington to do.”

Personally, I’d like Denny to remain where he is. I’m not a fan of lifelong politicians but since he apparently intends to be one, I think he will have far more power to advance a conservative agenda  while chairing a powerful subcommittee than he would as a freshman senator.  I think Steve Daines is a likeable candidate but his alignment with Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill is concerning.  I’d hate for Hill’s baggage to adversely affect Daines’s viability.  According to recent polls, US Congressman Hill currently has better name recognition but that recognition is highly negative. Daines, who is a relatively new face in politics (although he’s been involved on many levels for decades) may be wise to distance himself from the Hill campaign and instead capitalize on the current anti-incumbent/establishment politician wave.  The only one who stands to benefit from the alignment is Rick Hill, whose advanced age, health concerns, unimpressive voting record, and tendency to bail in stressful situations makes many  apprehensive about electing him to any office let alone crowning him the CEO of an entire state.

Montana Democrats:Premature Yet Rampant 2012 Paranoia


 

Answer our questions, Tester.

The paranoid Montana Democrats have filed a complaint against Steve Daines, who they claim is running an illegal shadow campaign for the US Senate seat currently held by Jon Tester.

 

At issue is a youtube ad posted by Common Sense Issues PAC attacking Tester and Baucus and appearing to endorse Steve Daines for their jobs- although the ad never mentions Daines, nor does the group’s website.

In a telephone interview with the Billings Gazette today, Daines maintained that he isn’t currently a candidate and expressed concern that the Democratic Party had consulted with the media before filing with the FEC.  The Gazette also mentions the “Draft Steve Daines for US Senate” Facebook group but fails to note that it was created by College Republicans- not by Daines, the Montana Republican Party, or the Common Sense Values PAC.

While it is widely believed that Daines will be filing soon (rumored to be November 13), there is also some speculation that current US House Representative Denny Rehberg is also interested in the position  which has led many to wonder if Daines will instead run for Rehberg’s House seat.

Personally, I just think Jon Tester is unhappy with the new website the PAC created which pokes fun at the senator’s inability and unwillingness to answer questions from his constituents.