GOP Gubernatorial Race Update: Hill Still the Big Favorite

The Montana GOP Candidates for Governor 2012

Rick Hill is still leading strongly in the nine-way GOP race for governor, according to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted this past week.

Hill polls highest among those who describe themselves as liberal or somewhat liberal, but that goes down to 31% with very conservative voters.  Hill’s lead is unsurprising, given that no other candidate has any name ID– nor have they shown an interest in going after the front runner, nor even in trying to take some risks and attract attention to themselves.  The percentage of voters who answered they’d like “someone else or undecided” is similar to or greater than the number supporting Hill among the full range of GOP voters polled. This is further indication that most people haven’t heard of any of these guys yet and that being a state legislator means jack in terms of name recognition.

The one wild card was Neil Livingstone, who is now known mainly as having been Muammar Qaddafi’s lobbyist. For a few million bucks worth of TV ads, Livingstone could have make up the deficit against Hill and probably surpassed him. But word on the street is that he is closing up shop and getting out of the race, his campaign having all but derailed. Perhaps he doesn’t have the cash, or else why would he have tried prostituting himself to Qaddafi for the big payday, in the middle of a governor’s race?

The rest of the field is a bunch of yahoos. Stapleton has raised a decent clip of cash but will not have nearly enough to close the gap. Essmann has spent all his money on munchies for campaign events; Ken Miller has a comb-over.  The full results of the poll can be seen here.

Looking beyond the primary to the general contest, the Washington, D.C. based Politico has, for the third month in a row, declared Attorney General Steve Bullock as the “winner” of the moment– giving him that distinction every month since he joined the race.  The the political news source has ranked the Montana gubernatorial contest as one of the top races in the nation.

Posted: December 5, 2011 at 7:29 am

15 thoughts on “GOP Gubernatorial Race Update: Hill Still the Big Favorite

  1. Farmboy

    Wasn’t there a story back when I was a kid it was Snow White and the Seven dwarfs, well now we’ve changed that it Cowgirl and the Nine nutjobs.

  2. Jennifer Davies

    If the GOP candidates are compared to the disciples, who is whom? I say, Lynch is Judas, Jesus is the Western Tradition Partnership, and…who were the others? (Who cares!)

  3. Chris

    Livingstone has not dropped out of the race. You haven’t seen the bus because it has been out driving around the state. Ryan Zinke is a Navy Seal. Meanwhile, Rick Hill’s got more baggage than the lost and found department at Delta Airlines. There are no other serious candidates in the primary at this point.

    1. hauserLake

      I’ve heard a push is imminent from Livingstone, but from what I have seen of his campaign it isn’t well run from the top down IMO. NL micromanages and does not micromanage well. Even as an DC-insider/MT-outsider, he should have a lot more traction here and just doesn’t. Something’s not right there.

  4. Paul

    Chris – one can only wonder how many thousands or even 10′s of thousands of civilian lives would have been saved had Livingstone and the others been successful in getting Qadaffi out of the country 6 months earlier. How much money did our own bankrupt government contribute to liberating the people of Libya?

  5. Pogo Possum

    The Politico poll Cowgirl references did not ask one question about Bullock and Bullock’s name did not appear anywhere in the poll.

  6. Paul

    Chris – I’m not suggesting that at all. That is actually one of the things that the federal government is permitted to do under the Constitution. Livingstone followed the correct protocol in trying to get State Department permission to get Qadaffi out of Libya and the State Department did not respond. I believe the US does use “independent contractors” to do some national security work. I guess I just don’t see the big deal the left is making of this – unless they are happy that a lot of needless pain and suffering by the Libyan population happened. I suspect that is not true and they are just trying to attack Livingstone for political gain.

    1. Lewis Skolnik

      You’re suggesting Livingstone had the best interests of the people of Libya in mind and not his 10 million retainer? Why didnt he offer his services for free then?

  7. Chris

    Paul – I am not disagreeing with you. I don’t see a problem with certain functions being privatized. I was making the point that Livingstone is the better candidate.

  8. Dave Skinner

    Now, wait a second — here’s what Politico really had:

    Democrats believe Attorney General Steve Bullock will be the ultimate beneficiary of a fragmented Republican field. A Montana State University-Billings poll found that Republicans enjoy a 2-point generic ballot advantage in the governor’s race.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/69568.html#ixzz1fglrRzLX

    Sure, Bullock will benefit, but if Hill makes Otter Creek and jobs his issue, that will be to his advantage. Most nonideological Montanans like to be prosperous, after all.

    By the way, if Ryan Z comes on here, did you get that hatch closed on the RV a couple of weeks ago? I was riding a lowboy down off Marias hill and we spotted you — we tried the radio and also tried to phone once we got back to town.

  9. Havre Voter

    Here’s what the Politico article says “Bullock Wins November”

    “2. Montana (down 1 spot)

    There are currently nine Republicans vying to wrestle back the governor’s mansion from Democratic control for the first time since 2004. The Associated Press noted this week that the “still-growing field” is creating a “jumbled, messy courtship of the far-right voter bloc.” One candidate is pledging to ban all immigration and abortion and bring Christianity into public schools. If there’s a front-runner in the scrum, it is former Rep. Rick Hill, who has almost 10 times more money in the bank than his nearest GOP rival. Democrats believe Attorney General Steve Bullock will be the ultimate beneficiary of a fragmented Republican field. A Montana State University-Billings poll found that Republicans enjoy a 2-point generic ballot advantage in the governor’s race.

    Who won November: Bullock”

  10. flathead Source

    Cowgirl is correct that Livingstone is strongly considering getting out of the race. It’s been under consideration since the campaign went broke, and the Ghadaffi story has ade it more likely than not that he will exit by the end of the year.

  11. Scoop

    Livingstone has not updated his campaign website in almost four months. Not only does it appear the air has left the balloon, we never got his recipe suggestions for the holidays. The horror! Maybe Cowgirl can start posting her favorite dishes?

  12. Scoop

    Livingstone has not updated his campaign website in almost four months. Not only does it appear the air has left the balloon, we never got his recipe suggestions for the holidays. The horror! Maybe Cowgirl can start posting her favorite recipes?

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