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.