A Bozeman Republican who served 12 years on the Bozeman School board has filed to run in the legislative seat currently held by the embattled TEA Party legislator, Rep. Art Wittich, which is House District 68. As the Bozeman Chronicle reported of Republican Bruce Grubb’s announcement, he’s running against Wittich because “the 2015 Legislature was hampered by lawmakers who were putting their ideology before their constituents, noting the conservative faction’s refusal to pass a major infrastructure bill.”
Grubb’s statement echoed the criticism of many in the business community, in Bozeman, the Bakken oil fields, and around the state: “I felt that in the case of the infrastructure bill, it was prudent because bond rates are so low. Public education is a big deal for me and schools all over the state had projects that could have benefited.”
Grubbs is the latest of a slate of Republicans who are challenging some of the state’s worst TEA Party offenders. Walt Sales is running for Montana HD69, a seat previously held by Matthew Monforton (Monforton, probably seeing the writing on the wall, abandoned his campaign when Sales announced).Republican Mike Houghton, a Manhattan schoolteacher, has announced his candidacy for HD 67; the seat currently held by TEA Partier Tom Burnett, who claims avoiding porn will eliminate the need to fund treatment for mental illness. In the Great Falls area, 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.
Wittich is facing a trial in 2016 for corruption. If found guilty he could be thrown out of the legislature. Recently the case against Wittich was expanded to include new allegations of additional illegal conduct, including “secret and improper contributions from corporate groups.”