Moderates Launch Primary Challenges Against Problem TEA Partiers

The ridiculous bills and obstructionist chest thumping that characterized the 2015 legislature continues to backfire on Montana’s confederacy of TEA Party legislators.  The latest:  Primary challengers are popping up around the state against some of the session’s worst offenders.

Republican Mike Houghton, a Manhattan schoolteacher, has announced his candidacy for HD 67; the seat currently held by TEA Party poster boy Tom Burnett.

Houghton says he is running this time because of Burnett’s vote against the jobs and infrastructure bill, which was tanked by the TEA Partiers like Art Wittich and Austin Knudsen last session, angering business leaders, Republicans, and Democrats alike.

Houghton pointedly told the Bozeman Chronicle:

“As a taxpayer, I find it appalling that many of our local lawmakers have refused to support long-term investment in business and education infrastructure,” Houghton said. “This refusal to run state government like a business, transfers a tremendous burden to our children and grandchildren when they are left to repair what we did not maintain.

Burnett has not filed for re-election, and perhaps will also drop out rather than face an embarrassing defeat. Instead, he spends his days sending out frighteningly vapid email missives like these, packed with misinformation and logical fallacies.  Given that Burnett’s grasp on reality tends toward tenuous (he claims avoiding porn will eliminate the need to fund treatment for mental illness, for example), it’s not clear whether he’s be able to decipher the writing on the wall.

A forth-generation Bozeman rancher named Walt Sales has announced his candidacy for Montana’s HD69, the seat currently held by Matthew Monforton.  Mr. Sales is a fourth-generation rancher who has been a leader in water and growth issues in the Gallatin Valley. He founded the Association of Gallatin Agricultural Irrigators, which was instrumental in passing the CSKT water compact, which Monforton opposed.  Monforton in fact opposed most of the important bills during the 2015 session, including the jobs and infrastructure bill, the bi-partisan medicaid expansion alternative, and the dark money reform bill.

Monforton spent most of his time and energy trying to organize a circular firing squad within the GOP caucus, only to find out that a circular firing squad requires a level of accuracy of aim and geometric understanding of which his fellow TEA Partiers may not be  capable. The faction  suffered bitter humiliation whenever one of their ranks succeeded in grabbing the mic. That’s probably why not even a week went by after Sales announced his candidacy that Monforton realized the smell of toast wafting around the Gallatin valley and dropped out.

We also know that Republican Rep. Wendy McKamey will run against TEA Party Rep. Randy Pinnoci in the primary Pinnoci is the Agenda 21 conspiracy theorist who made headlines for the expletive laced tirade he held when he learned that the state budget included money to help deaf and blind children. Pinocci, who claimed to work “16-hour days,” was busted playing video games while the legislature was in session after he forgot to turn off his autopost settings. He introduced bills designed to address the supposed New World Order indoctrination of children and to require drug testing before poor seniors and families could get food.

Stay tuned.  This is just the beginning.


14 Comments on "Moderates Launch Primary Challenges Against Problem TEA Partiers"

  1. Now, we know the real reason that the republicans (aka Tea Party) wanted to limit primary voters to republicans only. They knew that given half a chance, moderates, both Democrat, Independent and Republican) would vote in the primaries to defeat the Tea Party candidates.
    Now, we can only hope that people have seen the error in electing radicals and will vote in both the primaries and the general election to bring back sanity to the Montana Legislature.

  2. Is Walt Sales any relation to very conservative former state senator Scott Sales? Just curious.

    • No relation. In fact, a few years ago when the good Senator was at his wierdest, Walt Sales felt the need to submit a Letter to the Editor of the Bozeman Chronicle, disavowing any relation. Walt would make a terrific Representative.

  3. Most Montanans are Moderately Conservative. It is time to take back our Government (except that phrase sounds like the Crazy People)

    • Most Montanans that respect the many gifts found in this state that give us the quality of life that we enjoy are middle of the road. The government does not need to be taken back for it has always been there. We have just allowed big money politics to buy it and the bottom feeders invaded us.

  4. The Tea Party candidates ran on a platform of bigotry, fear mongering, resentment and shifting blame which, obviously, very much appealed to the voters of the districts they were elected in. It had nothing to do with big money at these levels. It was simply an appeal to the base of the Republican Party, who rewarded them. To think these same voters are now miraculously going to turn against the very nature they embrace is pure fantasy. And to somehow think Democratic leaning voters should switch parties to support this new flock of so called moderate saviors is nothing short of dillusional. Moderate Republicans by today’s standards are the last thing we need to support.

    • Sal is right on point. Angry, misguided, foolish people elected the angry, misguided, foolish legislators. There has been no change in philosophy or mindset within that electorate, regardless of how those legislators they sent to Helena have behaved. Changing a culture is an almost impossible challenge, and change isn’t going to settle in those districts anytime soon.

      • May be moderate Republicans in US House, but House Republcans rarely voted with Democrats, always voted against Democrats, always followed new commandment: have no other party before or alongside the Republican Party; avoid associating with Democrats. That energy base and logic and machinery imparts leverage to the freedom caucus.

        Grants the ?10% freedom caucus the privilege of ?extorting the Federal Government to stop some services, OR stop Planned Parenthood operations.

        Last night, on the new “Tell us what we don’t know” part of Hardball,
        it was reported that Nancy Pelosi had offered [again] to vote with Republicans and retain John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Such not on MSNBC site, but relative info at:

        imo only, the House freedom caucus is firmly forward institutionalized.
        I’d rather speak of the immoderate House, than of immoderate individuals.
        And speak of moderate individuals, as members of an immoderate coalition majority of what used to be called: The House of the People.

        Maybe just another example how inequity X irresponsible dark money = a worse problem!

  5. I would never vote Republican, but it sure makes me feel a little better about the Republicans I don’t like.

  6. What is the Montana Democratic Party plan against problem Tea Partiers? See:

    • That’s a doubly irrelevant link!
      How daring!
      To search for echoes.

    • And the question is are you a poser also HighPoint, maybe one of them? Because both of those losers who were banned here were not Democrats, just trouble makers, harassed others, and are definitely not part of the solution to Democrats need.

      Jus saying!

  7. Mike Houghton?
    He was put up for his 2014 primary race mostly by Ted, Claudia and James Washburn. Lost.

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