At 5p.m. today the deadline passed for anybody seeking office in 2014. And there was some action.
First, as the Flathead Memo reports, we have a new Republican candidate in the US Senate race, a woman named Susan Cundiff. As far as I can tell, she is the first Republican woman to run for U.S. Senate in MT. She also may be the first female Republican ever to run in a US Senate primary in Montana. I believe the first woman to run as Democrat for U.S. senate is Melinda Gohper. Cundiff works at the University and is currently a sales Associate for Victoria’s Secret. In case you’re not a frequenter of malls, this is a lingerie store.
You’ve come a long way, GOP.
Meanwhile, a man named Roger Root, a convicted felon and proud racist who authored a website entitled “The Respectable Racist: 100 Things You Didn’t Know About Black People,” also entered the Senate race today. With his resume, including overt, ugly racism, bordering on eugenics and a few felony convictions including some on gun charges, I expect him to be very successful in attracting many Tea Party votes, stealing them from Steve Daines.
Embattled TEA Party Sen. Jason Priest, who faces four criminal charges, did not file, so the senate seat he would have run in will have a GOP primary between two current house TEA Partiers. Local Republicans will have the pleasure of deciding between David Howard and Joanne Blyton. Howard is a man who has, somewhat obsessively, devoted his Facebook page to criticizing gay sex. So of course, the GOP picked to lead the Children and Families legislative committee last session. Howard will face off against Red Lodge Republican Joanne Blyton. Blyton is a birther who actually voted for Birther Bob’s birther bill. (You can see a pdf of HB 205, the birther bill, vote here.) Yes, that’s the same bill that later made the Montana Legislature famous on CNN.
Speaking of birthers, in Ravalli County there is a GOP primary in House District 85, between Theresa Manzella, a woman who likes birther videos on Youtube [screenshot], and Mike Jeffords of Victor.
Former judge Nels Swandal is actually running for the state legislature in Livingston’s SD 30 against Democratic candidate Mary Murphy–in spite of reports of alleged Judicial Code of Ethics violations which were reported in Montana papers across the stateduring the last election cycle. The allegations involve a fundraising letter sent out on ultra-conservative judicial candidate Laurie McKinnon’s behalf, paid for by Laurie McKinnon’s campaign, from Nels Swandal while he was a sitting judge, which the judicial code of ethics says is not permitted.
On Swandal’s political views, the Billings Gazette reported that Swandal said that questions posed by the Montana AFL-CIO to candidates “are among the most un-American ideas I’ve ever seen,” and that he wouldn’t seek endorsement of the Montana Conservation Voters “because of their assault on private property.”
And from Great Falls HD 21 there is Cleve Loney, the TEA Partier who most loves to dress in tricorn garb. Loney is running again after the voters of Great Falls booted him in the 2012 elections.
Many Republicans this election cycle are facing primary opponents– by the pro-business and jobs wing of the state party who are fed up with the economic harm and incompetence perpetrated on the state by crackpots who don’t understand how the economy works. The Lee Newspapers did an early write up of a few of these primaries a while back. There are several additional of this type who have filed since then. We’ll let the GOP figure out who they are.
A final note: I’m hearing that the Democrats have successfully fielded a candidate in every single state legislative district, both house and senate. That’s good news in what might otherwise be a tough year. Good work by the Montana Legislative Campaign Committee and kudos to all of the democratic candidates who stepped up to run. You can see the list here.
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