Montana Candidate Suddenly on National Radar

 National political groups this week upgraded the Montana house race. It’s now considered winnable.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helps candidates around the country with cash infusions, put the Kim Gillan-Steve Daines contest on its Red to Blue 2012 target list, which “highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, grassroots, and strategic support.”   EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, also announced that Gillan has been put “On the List” of its targeted candidates and she will thus receive assistance.  In the 2009-2010 cycle, EMILY’s List raised more than $38.5 million to recruit and support women candidates, help them build strong campaigns, and mobilize women voters to turn out and vote.

Last week, Public Policy Polling, a non-partisan group, announced that the race “looks like a toss up,” as Gillan closed the gap with her opponent to within the three-point margin of error.  The race is now a statistical dead heat, the polling firm reports: “This race could go either way” as candidates become better known in the final eight weeks.



40 Comments on "Montana Candidate Suddenly on National Radar"

  1. This is welcome news, and good news for Gillan — but calling the contest a “tossup” is spin. In the PPP poll, she’s three points behind. If the polling data are entered into the American Research Group’s ballot lead calculator (, one finds that there is a 78 percent chance that Daines is ahead.

    Strong performances in her debates with Daines are Gillan’s best hope for winning the election. She needs a “there you go again” or “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” moment, and she needs to convince voters that Daines — simply by being a Republican — is a soldier in the Romney-Ryan social insurance wrecking army that’s out to gut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid; indeed, all that’s good and holy.

    • Good idea. While we know Daines still has the money advantage, I hope that this will help Kim narrow it

      • I still think the odds are against her, Craig. She’s getting more money, but Daines still has a ton of cash. I don’t think she’s catching fire, but interestingly, neither is Daines. She’s still behind in the polls, but closer than I expected (assuming that the PPP poll is not an outlier). I still think she’s a long shot, but I don’t think her situation’s hopeless and never have.

        Up until now, as I observed in the post you mentioned, her chief problem has been a paucity of support from the Democratic Party. That’s changing, no doubt because she’s closer in the polls than expected. She may also be benefiting from a national trend favoring Democrats. It’s an interesting, and still fluid, situation, and I base my analysis on the best information available to me.

        Check Flathead Memo late tomorrow for new information on the MT races for senator and governor.

        • The democratic party only cares about the Tester Race. That’s the most important and we have to focus there,

          • Cox will be the spoiler just like Jones was in 2006. Denny simply cannot afford to lose 15000+ (likely 25000+)votes.

          • I am not James, but a few observations…

            1) the results are within the margin of error for the poll.
            2) this race is effectively two incumbants going for the same seat so the usual logic of the incumbant having any advantage does not apply
            3) The gazette poll was done by a polling company I am unfamiliar with and I have no idea what the methodology was. If it just polled in a certain area of Montana, the results could be very skewed (for example, a poll of Great Falls would lean Republican, a poll in Missoula would lean Democrat). Given no methodology, the poll itself is highly suspect.

            My thoughts on the race have already been expressed. I think Tester will win by a small margin even given the large ad buys by out of state PACs. Tester’s work for Vets and Rehberg’s “do nothing” attitude will end up deciding the race for Tester.

            • About Mason-Dixon:

              Mason-Dixon is an independent polling firm that conducts public policy and political polling and research for news media, advocacy groups, trade associations, public relations and marketing professionals.

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            • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 23, 2012 2:20 PM at 2:20 PM |

              Great Falls republican? Geez, where’d THAT one come from, Kenneth? GF is more staunchly Dem than Butte!

              But the REAL unknown is just HOW many inbreds have moved up here in the last few years and HOW many are registered to vote! Tester shoud win this easily, but with all the racists, christers, inbreds, morons, weirdos, and the criminals in the oil patch, who knows?! It’s hard to poll this demographic, but IF they went around and asked everyone with prison tatoos how they’re gonna vote, you might get a reasonable idea!
              Or maybe them dudes with southern accents, or the confederidiot flag in their truck windows!

              Hell, Pastor Bulbdim instructed his entire flock of flockers to move up here!

              You see, Kenneth, I’m a pundit. And I say that nearly every close statewide election in the last few years has been won by less than four thousand votes. And my OWN unofficial polling indicates that there are at LEAST double that many inbred carpet baggers to Montana! Hell, look at Gen. Robert E. Skees and his company of misfits!

              So, it’s gonna be close. Your old timey Montanans are gonna have to pull this one out for Jon. It they don’t, it’ll be Sen. Dopey Reeburp!

            • Mason-Dixon is a reputable firm. The margin of error is for a confidence level of 95 percent. That’s an industry standard, but also a high bar. What we really want to know is the probability that Smith leads Jones. See

              The American Research Group has a free online ballot lead calculator.

              Praeter Software’s Statistics Pro (Mac and PC), now on sale for five bucks, includes a confidence levels panel that calculates the margin of error at various confidence levels.

          • Craig, I’m posting my analysis on Flathead Memo Monday morning. The race is close, but Rehberg appears to have a small lead.

  2. Old Line, Democrat | September 21, 2012 7:59 PM at 7:59 PM |

    Absolutely wrong!

    If we can get both Tester and a House seat this cheaply, do it now!!

  3. I’m met Kim several times, she’s real, Daines is a Romney wannabe: “Steve Daines got a little excited about meeting another outsourcing millionaire this week, claiming that Mitt Romney’s visit to 200 people during a private event was the “largest political event in Montana history.” ”

    and after Denny, we don’t need another millionaire congressman

  4. Aware and Not Stupid | September 22, 2012 9:27 PM at 9:27 PM |

    Anybody read the poll released today statewide and Daines is up on TV with a very positive ad to raise name ID for the remainder of the campaign. This one is in the bag, Daines takes the Rehberg seat, Gillan has no money to raise her name ID like Daines does, we can chalk this on up on the R side.There are a lot of R’s out there that are mad as hell at Rehberg for taking Daines out of this race, Daines could have taken Tester out, he has no ‘baggage’ at this point, no voting record to run against, these folks will vote for the Constitution candidate to strike back at Rehberg and it will help Tester, but Daines takes Gillan out.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 22, 2012 9:33 PM at 9:33 PM |

      Sorry, Beware I’m Stoopid, but Daines is simply a little kockh. If he wins, he will immediately set about to embarrass himself and Montana. He’s a little twit! All the money in the world canNOT make up for that fact! He’s a little nothing man. You think that Sen. Cornhole Burns was a laughing stock! Little Stevey boy is prime time COMEDY material! Letterman. Colbert. Stewart will eat his lunch! And Montana will be back in the news, the LAFFING STOCK news! What a little loser!

  5. A visit to Montana by President and Mrs. Obama on behalf of Senator Tester and Ms. Gillan would solidify the vote for Dems: let’s make some noise for that.

  6. Supt. Juneau?

  7. Mason-Dixon, a real non-partisan polling firm, has Daines up by 8.

    As the first commenter to the Gazzette article reminds us:

    Kim Gillan voted for House Bill 198 in the closing minutes of the last Montana legislative session. That bill gave sweeping eminent domain powers to private transmission ventures, including foreign ventures. Such ventures can now condemn families’ land for private gain. The facilities those ventures build can then go on to reduce property values to the extent that families become “upside down” in their mortgages. On election day, I will restrain my normally Democratic sympathies and leave Kim Gillan’s oval unblackened. Gillan = government overreach.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 23, 2012 2:23 PM at 2:23 PM |

      Oh shit, Craig. We’re you and that dude born YESTERDAY? Hell, the corpos have been takin’ private land in Montana since! Geez, it’s all new to you! I thought you were a lawyer. Are you REALLY unfamilar with emenint domain laws and actions? Geez, just geez.

      • As to the law, see this:

        House Bill 198 is a bill clarifying that private power line builders and public utilities such as NorthWestern Energy, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and Tonbridge, have the power to take private property for transmission lines.

        The bill states that public utilities and private companies that receive permits under the Major Facility Siting Act, such as Montana Alberta Tie developer Tonbridge Power Co. of Toronto and NorthWestern Energy’s proposed Mountain States Transmission Intertie, can take private property for public use.

        The bill is a result to undermine a recent court desicion. District Judge Laurie McKinnon denied Montana Alberta Tie (MATL) use of eminent domain because Tonbridge Power Co. is not an agency of the state. McKinnon said, “Private individuals and corporations, like state agencies, have no inherent power of eminent domain, and their authority to use it must be derived specifically from the Legislature.” Proponents of the bill think that this recent court ruling overturned eminent domain (Montana Code, Section 70-30-102), but that was not the ruling. Eminent domain still applies to the many public uses like roads, canals, logging railways, etc. The judge simply ruled on our eminent domain law. If passed, HB198 will serve no public use to Montana. Note: The MATL line affects 250 landowners.

        Information about Tonbridge Power Co. that our legislators would like to give eminent domain exercising authority.

        Tonbridge Power Inc. is a Toronto-based developer of electrical transmission assets, whose principal asset is a 100% interest in the Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. (MATL). Shares of the company are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “TBZ.”

        Larry, why were you and Gillan in favor of giving the power of eminent domain to foreign entities?

        • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 23, 2012 4:04 PM at 4:04 PM |

          THEY’VE ALWAYS HAD IT, Craig. And I SUSPECT that you know that. You guys are simply hard up for issues. And it shows. Hell, the Billings Gazette did a fantastic series on eminent domain some twenty years ago. I still have it buried somewhere. The lady who did that series was a fantastic reporter. She’s gone now, but that was back in the days when the Gazoo was still a very good newspaper.

          Hell, mining and electric companies have been using it since day one. Just as the folks whose LAND is currently being used down by Roundup! And really, “foreign” companies? Are there really ANY that aren’t multinational? Not that I’M aware of! Hell, PPL has had more owners than lil’ ricky has had affairs!

      • Larry, BTW, B-birds was all over this:

        Are you going to call them stupid too?

        • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 23, 2012 4:15 PM at 4:15 PM |

          My point, Craig, was that there is really nothing new about all this. Been going on for a long time. I don’t recall calling you stupid. Guess I’ll have to go through my boxes until I find that old Gazoo article.

          p.s. I don’t read 4 20. Too goofy, and they don’t allow free speech. They’re as bad as the righty call in shows that screen their calls! I ONLY read and participate in sites that aren’t afraid of criticism.

          • Larry as to calling me stupid, you did in so many words when you wrote:

            Are you REALLY unfamilar with emenint domain laws and actions? Geez, just geez.

            As to HB 198 the Northern Plains Resource Council issued a press release:

            Northern Plains Resource Council, a grassroots conservation and family agriculture group since 1972, strongly condemned actions by the Montana State Senate on Tuesday to pass HB 198, the session’s eminent domain reform bill, on a second reading floor vote. A majority of Democrats joined with Republicans to vote in favor of the bill. The bill had previously been stalled in committee on a 6-6 vote until it was blasted onto the Senate floor this morning on a 26-23 vote.

            Northern Plains members, many of whom are landowners facing condemnation themselves, have fought HB 198 for most of the session. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ken Peterson (R-Billings), would clarify a public utility’s right to condemn private land for corporate use. Buried in the bill is a retroactivity clause that will set a dangerous precedent for landowners in Montana. Northern Plains calls this bill what it is – a corporate bailout.

            “The members of the Montana Senate who voted in favor of this bill had a chance to stand up for landowners and the interests of rural Montana today; instead, they caved to the bottom line of one corporation, granting them the biggest corporate bailout of the session,” said Darrell Garoutte, Chair of the Northern Plains Pipeline Landowners Group. This group of landowners crossed by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in eastern Montana has organized to negotiate with TransCanada an equitable contract which protects landowners and public safety.

            “This bill is about one corporation, Tonbridge Power Inc., that treated landowners dishonestly, lost in district court, and, rather than going through the appellate court system like any other citizen of this state, came to the legislature with its hands wide open threatening legislators with alarmist claims and rhetoric. It certainly sets a dangerous precedent for landowners moving forward, and folks in rural Montana will remember this vote.”

            HB 198 arose out of a district court decision issued in December in Glacier County where Tonbridge Power of Toronto is building the 214-mile Montana Alberta Tie Line. The judge halted construction of the power line, ruling that the project did not meet the public need test and therefore did not have the power of eminent domain. HB 198 effectively reverses the decision and puts the landowners in the project’s path in the crosshairs. Parties in the case filed arguments with the Montana Supreme Court last week, promising that a decision will be reached soon by the state’s highest court.

            “We in the agricultural sector take this as a personal affront to our ability to do business in Montana, and the economic hardship of stealing our land. If you take something from me and give it to somebody else, it is stealing. This will put us in a position where we cannot deal fairly with anyone trying to use eminent domain. We are simply asking for respect and fairness. This bill sets a grave precedent for those of us that make a living on the land in this state,” said Garoutte.

            Now if that wasn’t enough to distinguish Gillan’s vote in support of HB 198 she went further on the pipeline spill:

            It’s more than a bit shocking – regardless of your political persuasion, I’d like to think – when a state senator and a congressional primary candidate champions the short-term economic boom to the shops in downtown Billings that occurred when Exxon spilled crude from its pipeline into the Yellowstone River this past July.

            That’s the kind of thing you’d expect our current Representative Denny Rehberg might say, given his love for oil & gas industry money – Representative Rehberg ranks 14th in receipts of oil & gas industry money of all recipients there in Washington.

            Instead, it was state senator Kim Gillan (D-Billings) who made the remark at a forum for several of the candidates held by The Policy Institute this past weekend. I have tremendous respect for The Policy Institute. They’ve provided excellent policy testimony – especially on budget issues – to legislative committees. Frankly, it’s a bit surprising that Gillan would say such a thing given the audience.

            And Larry, using your PM alias YOU wrote this about Gillan in regard to what she said:

            Pogue Mahone

            January 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm

            Bizarre. Does Gillian truly beleive that everyone in Montana is retarded? Apparently so. What a pathetic candidate.

  8. Expect a visit from Gov. Gary Johnson, Montana: outside their own base Libertarians will take three Democrats for every 5 earth haters.

    The President and First Lady won’t visit, unless we ask them to, Dems. We South Dakota Dems are asking George McGovern to intervene in a Western visit for our House candidate.

  9. Kim Gillan on oil spill

    Possibily the statement in question, was meant that at the time of the spill, at least local stores got SOME business.

    Daines probably stood with these guys

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