GUEST POST: The Primary Hypocrite Wittich

Note: This is a guest opinion piece by Rep. Jesse O’Hara (R-Great Falls).  As I mentioned earlier, the Cowgirl Blog welcomes guest post submissions.  The blog has in the past an will continue to consider guest opinion pieces from conservatives/Republicans subject to my discretion.  Rep. Jesse O’Hara, while of a different political party and with whom I and readers here will disagree on many points, has a reputation for being a thoughtful and effective lawmaker who puts his constituents first.  Note also that Wittich is said to be seeking a leadership position in the house after recruiting primary opponents against current members of the house. The piece below came with the following introduction:

My name is Jesse O’Hara and I am currently serving as a State Representative from Great Falls Montana, albeit I am vacationing at my winter home in Florida at the moment.  I can be reached at 1-406-781-3333, or emailed at or    My Great Falls address is: 2908 Wells Fargo, Great Falls, Mt. 59404.

Last session I was the longest serving member in the Montana House.   What I witnessed was an extremist group going to almost any lengths to purify the Republican Party.   Senate Majority Leader Wittich consistently spoke to the positives of every Republican having a primary, even saying that he planned on having one.  He constantly prattled on that primaries were good in that they allowed the voter to pick between Republican ideologies, and that the voter would pick the extreme ideology.    Then, in the last few minutes of the last day, he fled from a primary to an uncontested race.   It seems he was and is a hypocrite.  Primaries are only good for others.

In my five decades of political activity, including serving as both a State Senator and Representative, I have never seen anything quite like this.


Sometimes, to defend poor choices, a man’s bravado has his mouth writing checks his butt can’t cash. This appears to have been the scenario facing Senator Wittich in the final hours of filing for legislative office.

First, a history lesson: Wittich and his associates, while safely nestled in the warm embrace of Dark Money, have made it their mission to inform Republicans that primaries are good for the party. They justified this claim by stating that primaries have a uniquely “purifying” power that forces candidates to “own their vote.”

It seems an opponent was listening. On the final day of election signups, Wittich had the opportunity to put his hollow maxim to the test – to finally live by the words he preached. A primary loomed.

Nervous and caught unaware, Wittich began to ponder …

Maybe his singular dubious accolade, a stellar rating on Koopman’s cherry-picked scorecard (TAB), didn’t have the star power envisioned?

Maybe the verdict on his failed leadership would haunt him? Would anybody actually believe the fable that his failure to lead was somebody else’s fault?

Maybe he feared that the voters would uncover his efforts to dismantle public education?  Or his reference to volunteer school trustees as members of a ‘commie’ club?

Or maybe, just maybe, it was the zero he received on the Montana University System scorecard? Bozeman is a university town and his constituents might find it unsettling that Senator Wittich’s only support for the university was empty lip service.

By closing time, Senate Majority Leader Wittich had decided that an open discussion of his record, his leadership failure, and his looming legal troubles was a sure recipe for defeat. He disowned his principles and fled the primary to an uncontested House race.  Can anyone say – hypocrite?

Representative Jesse O’Hara


18 Comments on "GUEST POST: The Primary Hypocrite Wittich"

  1. I’m guessing all the school board member across the state would be shocked to find out the leader of the Montana senate thinks they are communists. Why, because they are volunteering to make their local school good? This jerk needs to go.

  2. I would advise the non-extremists to simply form an independent caucus next session. They’ll wield more power because both sides will have to work with them, and they’ll be able to actually be the leaders in pushing through the bills that MT’s economy needs, not bullshit ideology from either side.

  3. Dear Cowgirl,
    Rep. O’Hara points to the age old dilemma of those consumed by their glorious lust for power; their inevitable fall in unglorious fashion. Think Jason Priest. Wittich, Essmann & Co. are headed down that same train track. Train wrecks are never pretty.

    John Marshall

    • Wittich & Co are going to be insignificant this session! Voters are finally not believing all the B.S. they spout off. We need to dump these wing nuts!

      • Don’t bet the farm on that. Given the redistricting that has happened and the way voters are buying into idiotic conspiracy theories, I have little hope that the voters are any more awake this election cycle than they were last election cycle.

  4. “…I am vacationing at my winter home in Florida.”

    It just doesn’t occur to them how out of touch they (the Rs) ALL are.

  5. Old Line, Democrat | April 19, 2014 12:48 PM at 12:48 PM |

    I think there is another explanation for Art Wittich’s choice for the seat he wants to run for. It is simply that he has been effectively stymied in the Senate by the Dems. and mainstream Repubs. His goal is to be named the Majority Leader of the House so he can control the budget process and name the committee heads for the pivotal house committees. The facts set forth by Mr. O’Hara are merely icing on the cake. Wittich confuses the pre-election process with two filings and then goes for the one with no primary that will be his path to the power he seeks. Wittich is no fool. And he is certainly a conniver as his past actions, present legal troubles and his path to the election this year demonstrate. I agree that the mainstream Repubs. need to get their house in order or Koch tyranny through money will prevail.

  6. One small correction, Cowgirl. While I appreciate the fact that you have published a few guest posts from me, I am not a republican and can’t even claim that I am a conservative any longer. The “conservatives” have moved so far to the right that, at best, my ideology would be considered independent by some and even progressive/liberal by others. The parties are becoming so insular that there are many people in my boat and I am not sure if this polarization will change anytime in the near future. Even the author is expressing concern about this situation and I do understand his frustration.

    • Thank you. Can’t trust the dems anymore. Their well-fed, agnostic view that the poor can all live off elven bread when the money runs out just doesn’t work these days. But Republicans are ruthlessly uncaring and wish we were poverty-stricken and lived in soddies. Neither party is the least bit squeamish about manipulating either overblown enviro fears or the out-of-touch racism of white farmers. Voting is harder, and not just because it’s more difficult to qualify.

      • Unfortunately, many Dems have also been taken over by the Corporate State. Unfortunately, after Obama we will have at least 4 and maybe 8 years of another, at best Corporate Polician light or worst case, Corporate Polician full blown. However, I discern the possibility of a change in the Democratic party after that time. Bringing to the fore Democrats like Elizabeth Warren although there are others also not fully owned by the Corporate powers that be.

        As Hillary Clinton is the next most likely Democrat candidate for President, but it isn’t in the pocket yet, I would like to note that Hillary Clinton was just slightly less of a Corporate Democrat, at least according to her political positions laid out in her last campaign against Barack Obama. I went through those positions carefully and so am not and was not surprised by the Corporate sell-out of Barack Obama, although I had some slight hope that it would be better than it has been.

  7. I must confess I am flabbergasted and appalled by the commentary and general piss-taking at my father, Roger Koopman, on this blog. Before you get your panties in a twist and call me a fellow right-wing nutjob, let me stop you – I’m probably not who you think I am. I am NOT as conservative as my father. I do NOT generally vote Republican, or Tea Party. I do NOT agree with all his politics. In fact, I’ve spent the past several years living in Ireland and and feel in a lot of ways that America, Montana, and yes, even my dad, would do well to adopt some of the more liberal environmental and governmental policies that flourish in the rest of the world. But I am positively shaking at the infantile, ignorant and – dare I say it? – HYPOCRITICAL name calling that I’ve found in your “articles” on this blog. I guess I mistakenly thought at first this blog was a journalistic attempt, but after reading a few posts I saw my error. The writing is good, but the ethics are not. I understand satire, and I’ve never had the stomach for politics, all things considered. But I’d like to believe I’m one of the few people out there that is trying to add something good to this world. Criticism and checks and balances of our public and political figures is imperative. But there is such a thing as decency, constructive criticism and, let’s face it, CLASS. If anyone who has ever read or written on this blog had actually met my father, you would understand that he is a gentleman. He is melodramatic at times, YES, but his beliefs stem from his heart and his head. He is NOT stupid. He is NOT crazy. And I would wager that most of the other people you cruelly rake across the coals on this forum are the same. So next time you gleefully try to set someone’s entire human existence alight with ridicule, I suggest you go back and read your middle school cliff’s notes version of “To Kill A Mockingbird” and realize we can all benefit from standing in another person’s shoes, even, and especially, when you can not relate to him.

    • Does anyone find it strange that Maryann write this long outrage, and yet does not point a single thing that anybody has said against Koopman (her father)? Maryann- show us either a Cowgirl post or a comment by a reader, that crosses the line beyond basic, hard-hitting political criticism. Please.

      • As a point of note, I realize this particular post did not defame Roger Koopman in an extreme way, but as it was a more recent post referring to him, and I wanted to get my point across, I chose it in which to comment. I would have commented on earlier posts if I had known of their existence prior to this weekend.

        Queen City Dem – to reply to your request, here are a few of the following untrue and classless statements that “cross the line,” as you put it, regarding Mr. Koopman.

        (All emphasis in italics are mine)

        October 30, 2012 – reference to “Bozeman crackpot PSC candidate Roger Koopman” by Cowgirl

        October 13, 2012 – reference “…Roger Koopman is a half sandwich shy of a picnic” by Cowgirl

        OCTOBER 13, 2012
        “Reasonable Republicans (a declining breed that would be “none” if Koopman had his way) see through Koopman’s smiles to see the despot beneath the surface.”

        OCTOBER 15, 2012
        “Roger Koopman has an anger management problem. He is a lunatic on wheels and is not fit to hold public office. Every action he took, bill he sponsored, and vote he took was motivated by revenge or the desire to punish someone–women, the poor, members of his own party.”

        March 10, 2011
        “Of course, Koopman has been sort of quiet ever since it was revealed that he was using state government resources, illegally, to earn himself a tidy personal income.” By Cowgirl

        OCTOBER 30, 2012
        Dan T.
        Reference to him as “…a guy who had to be restrained from beating down a witness (Koopdog).”

        JANUARY 23, 2013
        Ben Tully
        “The man is a moron and should not be a part of any public decision-making. Ever.”
        JANUARY 11, 2013 – 6:17 AM
        Richard Miller
        “I wonder where this particular nut case would be if we decided to drop a nuke plant right next to his backyard. It is amazing that two people could have sex and produce such dismal example of a human being.”

        JANUARY 11, 2013 – 9:34 AM
        Why on earth do the folks in southwestern MT like Loopy Koopman. He was crazy when I lived in Belgrade 15 years ago and he hasn’t improved with age.

        JANUARY 13, 2013 – 7:48 AM
        Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
        “…Wonder if Kookman has any hidden home movies of himself and sheep in congress?? I’d lay you money he does!”

        Obviously, Cowgirl and her loyal followers are free to write whatever they damn well please, about my dad, their neighbors, the Pope, whomever. I respect that right and would not try to change it. But I am merely angered, disappointed and frustrated that most contributers here do not attempt to take the high road when making complaints about politicians and the system at large, rather than resorting to hurtful and idiotic name-calling and spreading of flat-out lies. I’m married to a left-wing Irish atheist who has never attempted to belittle my father for his beliefs, but has gotten to know him as a person while agreeing to disagree – so I know it can be done. Maybe you are the ones who need a broader perspective.

        I’ll leave it at that – go ahead and laugh at me all you want, I won’t be returning to lose any more sleep over your idle prattle. But hopefully something I’ve said here has stuck.

        • Drunks for Denny | April 28, 2014 1:47 PM at 1:47 PM |

          “But I’d like to believe I’m one of the few people out there that is trying to add something good to this world. ”

          Some of us like to believe that fighting the Koch brothers and their Tea Party minions is trying to add some good to this world, too.

  8. She sounds like Cartman, “Screw you guys!! I’m going home!!”

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