Thursday, September 25, 2008


The candidates for governor debate again tonight in Helena and I wonder if it will be a repeat of what we heard in Missoula--Brian Schweitzer touting his record ("the best in 16 years, if not ever"), Roy Brown trying to undermine those boasts, and Stan Jones poking his finger in the eye of both parties. I hope not and I hope the questioners make sure it's not.

To that end, here are the questions I would ask the candidates in light of last week's University of Montana debate.

To Governor Schweitzer:
State Senator Brown has compared himself to you by saying he's a "work horse, not a show horse." It seems to me that "show horse" is a euphemism. What he's really saying is that you're a "show-off", "windbag" and "blowhard." And that you are more concerned with self-promotion and creating a cult of personality than with governing. Would you have us ignore your personality as we evaluate your administration, or should we embrace "Brian being Brian"?

To Roy Brown:
You've pledged "the most open, honest and accountable administration in Montana's history." We can see that you don't approve of what Governor Schweitzer has done over the last four years. But your statement also indicates that recent Republican governors have fallen short of your standard. I'd like you to specify where Governors Martz, Racicot and Stephens fell short and what specifically you would do better.

To Stan Jones:
There are many in Montana who would question whether you really belong in a debate such as this. Although the Libertarian Party in Montana is a legitimate political organization and has earned its place on the ballot, it has yet to make a significant showing in any statewide race. And your perennial candidacy for governor and U.S. Senate has, frankly, made you more of a gadfly and an annoying diversion than a real candidate. Isn't it time for you to step aside and let us hear more from the candidates who actually have a chance of winning?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


By any standard, Barack Obama has received more money from Montanans than any other candidate for president this year. According to the Federal Election Commission, Obama's campaign has brought in more than half a million dollars in Montana through the end of July. John McCain is a distant second, with less than half that amount. And until July, McCain was third in fund-raising in Montana behind Democratic runner-up Hillary Clinton. Interestingly, Republican Ron Paul finished fourth in the money contest, with more than 100 thousand dollars. Well ahead of caucus winner Mitt Romney. Obama has a similar lead in figures published by the Center for Responsive Politics. Although its overall numbers are lower than what are on the FEC's website.
So where is Obama's support based? A CNN analysis shows that through June 30th, Obama led McCain in every major Montana county. And raised more money in Gallatin County than any other place in Montana. More than 116 thousand dollars. That's more than a third of his statewide total at the time. Missoula County was next, but generated less than half that amount. And actually provided more money for Hillary Clinton. Next in line for Obama, Yellowstone and Flathead Counties. Both coming in under 25 thousand dollars.
So what about McCain? Like Obama, his greatest support also came from Gallatin County, followed by Yellowstone. Flathead County was next in line, but McCain not only finished behind Obama there, he also was $10,000 behind money champion Ron Paul.
Looking across western Montana, Obama was the overall fund-raising leader in Lake and Ravalli Counties. While Clinton won in Missoula and Mineral. Ron Paul took honors in Flathead, Lincoln, Sanders and Granite Counties. While McCain did not win the money battle in any county west of the Continental Divide.