GUEST POST: Handicapping the 2012 AG Race

After reading Montanafesto’s analysis of the latest GOPer to enter the 2012 Governor’s race in Montana, I thought folks here might be interested in a look at the Dems that are being talked about for a possible AG run in Montana and Cowgirl has kindly allowed me a guest post.  There are three or four democrats right now who are considering running for Steve Bullock’s seat as Attorney General should he run for Governor:  Jesse Laslovich, a former state legislator; Tyler Gernant, who ran for Congress before being defeated in the 2010 Democratic primary; Pam Bucy, Chief Legal Council for the Montana Department of Labor; and John Morrison, former Montana State Auditor who ran for Senate before being defeated in the 2006 primary by Jon Tester despite raising millions.

Demographics likely play somewhat of a role.  Montana has never had a female Attorney General, and there have only been twelve women AG’s in the U.S. Gernant and Laslovich are somewhat younger, and will both just make it in under the required five years of legal practice required by state law for Attorney General in Montana.  Somehow, I doubt that Montanans will want to put a “barely legal” candidate up against Tim Fox, last cycles Republican candidate and a tough competitor.  John Morrison would be good at raising money, but may face similar electability problems as Rick Hill.

A larger factor in the race however will be experience.  Bucy’s experience includes service as deputy county attorney for Lewis and Clark County. Then in 2001, Pam was appointed Executive Assistant Attorney General for Attorney General Mike McGrath. She’s also got several years of private sector experience, working at a private firm in Helena for several years.  She is currently Chief Legal for the Montana Department of Labor, which has like 600 employees.  Morrison’s experience would also be formidable as the former State Auditor in charge of an agency with 70 employees.

Given the experience gap, it appears unlikely that Gernant will jump into the race. Laslovich has come closer to being publicly committed to actually running, and has more experience than Gernant, in that he has been a state legislator. He also has some anti-choice votes that will  make it difficult for him to win in a primary, including voting for a bill that is essentially the personhood initiative-the abortion ban that anti-choicers have failed to get on the ballot for the past two election cycles.


27 Comments on "GUEST POST: Handicapping the 2012 AG Race"

  1. I keep hearing Gernants name being metioned for the congressional seat being vacated by Denny Rehberg, I could see him running for that more then I could see him running for attorney general. I could see Jesse Laslovich running for attorney general, and I really cant see his anti choice votes hurting him enough in the primary to make him lose. But frankly there are so many open seats this time around that I can’t even keep track. Schwietzer (who I wish we could get him a third term) will be gone because of term limits, and I look for him to take a break from politics, and go do some speaking(cause he is a hell of a speaker) or sit on some business boards, or he will go back to ranching. And right now I cant even come close to predicting what will happen with that seat, and with Taylor Brown deciding to seek reelection to the state senate all bets are off as to who will win the Republican primary on that side, but Im hoping Derek Skees will just throw his nazi hat in the ring and let the craziness begin.

  2. I too wish Schweitzer could have a third term. Nobody goes after the bad guys with more energy and gusto-it will be impossible to replace him. I do feel that Wanzenried would be a good Governor, but I wish he had a little bit more gumption. I have never heard of Laslovich, and I remember Gernant from the last congressional race but not much about his views. Seems like a nice kid though-i could see him running for congress again.

  3. Pam Bucy would be a great AG. She’s worked in the office and knows how it works, and is a true progressive. Not to mention incredibly smart and personable with oodles of court experience.

  4. why not john parker

  5. (1) I don’t think AG should be an elected position. All AG, CA, and SC campaigns degenerate into “I’ll hang ’em higher than anyone else” contests. Bullock probably won because he promised to curb alleged prescription drug abuse (if he runs for gov, he’ll brag about HB-83, the pill police measure that the 2011 legislature unwisely approved).

    (2) All of the possibilities mentioned above are politically ambitious political types who probably view AG as a stepping stone to Governor or Senator. I’d prefer a middle-aged law professor who aspires only to being a good AG.

    • Any ideas on who that could be?

      • I may have described a null class.

        • I’m not so sure. I think there are probably a lot of people out there that would fit your description, but you get into the paradox of politics – The person most likely to do a great job is the person least likely to want to do it. Most of our political electees are ambitious and WANT to live in the world of politics. A true operator – someone that is good at the job, knows the job, and only wants to do a good job – is unlikely to want to deal with the horseshit of politics. The idea of “citizen legislators” – people who get elected for a short period of time, do a great job, then go back to their civilian life – has been dead for some time. What we have now is a political elite.

          As far as the candidates for AG – not sure who I would support as I don’t know enough about the various candidates to choose. That said, I am not convinced that Bullock will run for Governor. Wanzenried is a solid candidate (someone who could appeal to both moderate Dems and moderate Rep) though somewhat an unknown name. Given that the Governor’s race is bound to be contentious, expensive and – quite likely – ugly, Bullock may decide to stay in the AG spot. If that occurs, it will be difficult for any candidate from either side to take the seat.

  6. I really like John Parker, I didn’t know he was considering a run or I would have included him in the post. Anyone know if he is running?

  7. Bucy is the best all-around. She’s been a prosecutor, been all over the Capital and pretty much did the job for McGrath for like 7 years.

  8. I think Bucy would make a great Attorney General. So glad she is running!! She is tough and a hard worker and wouldn’t be one of those annoying mealy-mouthers who never say what really needs to be said. Go PAM!!

  9. I agree that Bucy will be the best all around. I just wanted to give folks a sense of who was considering getting in the race. For me, the most important factor is who can beat Tim Fox, and Bucy is best suited to do so. She’s tough, she has the most experience, she has campaign expertise and political sense, and she’s a woman – a great profile against the same-old same-olds like Fox, Hill, etc.

  10. Maybe its the fact I live out in the sticks but I’ve never heard of Bucy before this, so that tells me she does not have statewide name knowing power. But I could say the same about Tim Fox at this time back in 07. Wanzenreid is a good man, but he is from Missoula and that will hurt him in the east, Im sorry to say that but its the truth. Larry Jent has an A rating from the National Rifle Association, and is a hunter and outdoorsman, that will help him. Bullock is also a good man, but he will be labled as a liberal, and in a state that is slightly right of center that could be a problem. Also we dont know what the Republicans are going to put up. Basically there are too many factors in this race to make a call right now, its anybodies game. Also we have not mentioned Denny Rehbergs seat, its open this year as Denny has decided to go lose to Sen. Tester, and if I was a betting man I would bet the whole farm that Rehberg will lose to Tester, but who will take his place?

  11. Bucy is a lightweight who knows the right people. She isn’t that good of an attorney, she just gets promoted because she has good political connections. Lazlovich is young, but he’s very sharp and has solid legislative experience, AND has also worked at the AG’s office. He knows how to campaign. His wife probably has now properly slapped him upside the head on choice issues; his past votes shouldn’t hurt him. And he’s electable.

    • Im not sure that “a lightweight” who “knows the right people” is not a pretty accurate description of Laslovich as well if we are talking candidates for the Attorney Generals Office. I have a hard time taking seriously a candidate for that office who has only practiced barely five years. Maybe he isnt a lightweight on the politics side but there is more to this office then politics.

  12. If the 2012 Democratic primary where held today, I would if I voted in the Democratic primary, I would vote for Jesse Laslovich for attorney general. Just based on almost everything you said Gadfly.

  13. Fortunately, women make up 57% of the Democratic primary electorate, and I don’t know a single one that would vote for someone with an anti-choice voting record, no matter how much they claim their wife “slapped them” for it. FYI, I hope that’s not really going to be Laslovich’s explanation. Yikes.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | June 17, 2011 12:28 PM at 12:28 PM |

      Yep! You’re absoluely right. His record is symptomatic of deeper issues. When I see how he voted on abortion, that indicates that he’s WAY down on the evolutionary scale regarding women’s (who are PEOPLE ferrchrissakes) rights! What we DON’T need is a religeeio wack NOR a guy with fifties values. Been there, done that. Don’t feel like taking the time to educate the dude. Look, I know. I came from a very similar background. Grew up in mining family with “tradional” Catholic values. Time to move on.

      That being said, I like Laslovich. With an “ich” on the end of his name, he’s just GOTTA be a homeboy! We Bohunks is good people. Just kinda hardheaded and NOT amenable to change! It takes us a while to come around figure things out, but when we do, we’ll fight for what’s right.

  14. Going with Linda H. on this one. Here in the lefty city of Missoula — which, by the way, can decide a Democratic primary in this state — I cannot name one progressive who would vote for an anti-choice candidate. Not one.

  15. How does someone with three terms in the Legislature, scoring a 100%, a 100%, and a 90% from NARAL equate to being anti-choice?

    • Progressive Cow | July 6, 2011 3:46 PM at 3:46 PM |

      I never said he was anti-choice. I said he made some anti-choice votes. Those are the facts.

      Laslovich has been in the legislature since 2001. Just because he has a couple of good sessions and those are posted online doesn’t mean this represents his complete record.

      • I’m talking about the comments, primarily, but now I am more interested in your position. What other parts of his record are anti-choice?

        I’m an undecided voter. Show me the facts. If Laslovich has a clear record against choice, I certainly won’t support him.

  16. Progressive Cow | July 6, 2011 4:58 PM at 4:58 PM |

    Laslovich has a 66% choice voting record in 2003. I believe it was another fetal personhood bill that he voted for. For me, I only vote for 100% pro-choice candidates, because I like to know who can be counted on when tough issues come up. You’re going to have to make up your own mind, as will we all. Thanks for your comments on my post, and for allowing me to set the record straight that I never called him “anti-choice.”

  17. Fetal personhood measures open the door for abortion bans, but that’s only one reason they are bad for women. They allow law enforcement to investigate women for miscarrying to make sure no harm was done to the “person” and they allow for women to be prosecuted for exercising too vigorously while pregnant, for example. If Laslovich made an anti-choice vote or two, that’s his decision, but he has to accept accountability for his actions too. That’s fair.

  18. As has been asked at Intellegent Discontent, what votes has he made that were anti-choice and, more importantly, what did the bills actually say?

    Excuse me if I don’t take a given special interest group’s recommendation without some fact checking. The NRA tried to tell us five years ago that Tester wouldn’t protect our gun rights when the actual truth was that Tester was far better on the subject of gun rights than Burns ever was.

    I am also fed up with the feminist slant this argument has taken. Abortion effects more than just women. My first child was taken by abortion (a medically necessary abortion that had to be performed here in Montana because it was illegal in Idaho at the time). To this day I still have issues about it. Further, I am both a Husband and Father of three daughters. To say “men don’t care about” or “have no right to discuss” so-called women’s issues is bullshit and not likely to lead get us “men” to give a good god damn about your feelings on the issue.

  19. This site has a good explanation of fetal personhood bills. They explain it better than I could anyway : )

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