Posts tagged: Congress

Another slant to Montana special election

(320) Sunday, May 28, 2017 — When Tom Perez kept the old guard in power by winning Democratic National chair, he pledged the party would “compete in every ZIP code” in America.

He said the Party would invest in “rural outreach.”

In less than three months, Perez either failed to move the Party in that direction . . . or has no intentions to.

The special election in Montana to fill the state’s lone Congressional seat is an event nearly missed by Perez and national Dems.  Voting went to the polls last Tuesday.  About a third of the votes were cast absentee, in advance, due to the state’s early balloting rules.

The seat opened when President Trump appointed Ryan Zinke to be his Interior Secretary.

Even though Trump carried Montana by 20 percentage points last fall, Democrat candidate Rob Quist was in the Congressional battle until the very end, with little or no thanks to his National Committee.

Quist lost to multi-millionaire Greg Gianforte by seven percentage points.

National media obsessed with reporting on an election eve rumble.  Gianforte body slammed a reporter from the Guardian publication.  News of the campaign contained little else, although the event was too late to affect ballots cast the following day.

Even after a Fox News correspondent gave an eye witness account of the incident, attesting to Gianforte’s loss of temper.  Even after Gianforte, charged with criminal assault, confessed and apologized on election night, after he had been declared winner.

News channels continued with perspectives and the usual tripe — conservative media defending Gianforte and liberal pundits condemning the newest Congressman.

No one, with Rolling Stone Magazine an exception, exposed national Dems inept and tardy assistance to Quist.

Politically, Montana is a “red state,” but is known for its feisty independence.

Take last year for example.

Gianforte, despite spending $5 million of his own funds, failed to prevent Democrat Steve Bullock from winning a second term as governor.

Jon Tester, also a Democrat, holds one of the state’s two Senate seats.

Obviously, going into the special Congressional election, Gianforte had the edge, both by registration and his statewide ballot exposure in last year’s battle for governor.

Early polls, however, revealed Quist had a shot.   Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who had run well against Clinton in the 2016 primary, stumped for Quist.

Tester pressed Washington big guns for help.  He must run for re-election in 2018 and is concerned about Trump’s 2016 popularity carrying over to a possible opponent.

Gianforte shot to an early lead pouring well over a million dollars into advertising.  Outside interest groups and Republican nationals prepared to dump more buckets of cash into the race.

“With National Democrats on the sidelines, the Republican Party (spared) no expense to win in Montana,” Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone wrote.  The GOP was taking no chance of stumbling in the anticipated Trump electoral aftermath.

According to Rolling Stone, the Democrats saw the race differently.  Until late April, Frist had yet to hear from New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan.  House minority leader Nancy Pelosi handpicked Lujan to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and, obviously, expand the ranks of his party’s membership in the House.

According to published statistics, in 2008 with an African-American heading their ticket, Democrats captured 45 percent of the rural vote.  Last year, with a bombastic, blow hard, sexist at the top of the Republican ballot, Democrats sank to 34 percent of rural ballots.

Bottom Line: Democrats continue to play the coastal game.  There are enough Dems inland for that party to win national elections and increase membership in Congress.

If Dems stay with ocean front states, Republicans will continue their dominance.

Democrat Senators provided reason to stop contributing after they meddled in the 2016 Pennsylvania primary.  They spent our donations to help Katie McGinty defeat Joe Sestak.  McGinty was too liberal and bowed to Republican Pat Toomey in the fall.

From the Montana campaign, National Dems show little desire to compete for Congressional seats in rural America.

Perhaps rank-and-file Dems do not need to wait for inept leadership from Washington.  With little or no national support, candidate Quist attracted nearly $2 million in low dollar donations.