An initial scan of key GOP primaries this morning shows voters rejecting the TEA Party wing in favor of moderates in most races, especially the house. Here’s a rundown. It’s way too early to make any predictions about what this means for the makeup of the legislature in general.
See a race I missed? Add it in the comments.
HOUSE TEA-6 GOP-11
HD1: TEA Partier Steve Gunderson beat Bill Clark in Libby.
HD 11: TEA Party poster boy Derek Skees of Kalispell is leading primary opponent Jean Barran. The former TEA Party Republican legislator and nullification nutjob from the Flathead who proudly marched in a Memorial day parade wearing the confederate flag.
HD 14: TEA Partier Charlie Woolley lost to Denley Loge, in spite of the fact that Sanders County TEA Partier Jennifer Fielder endorsed Woolley.
HD17: Ross Fitzgerald of Fairfield handily bested right-wing challengers David Brownell and Charlie Brown in this open seat.
HD18: The popular Rep. Rob Cook beat right-wing GOPer Ann Morren, the second time he has done so.
HD19: Rep. Wendy McKamey of Great Falls creamed TEA Party nutjob and Agenda 21 conspiracy theorist Rep. Randy Pinocci, who was busted playing video games during legislative work sessions and introduced a bill to require drug testing for seniors who can’t afford food.
HD20: Moderate Frederick Anderson beat TEA Partier Sheridan Buck.
HD 22: Known TEA Party right winger Cleve Loney, who leads a creepy effort that is trying to keep abused kids with abusers, lost to newcomer Lola Sheldon Gallaway.
HD27: TEA Partier Darold Hutchinson lost to James O’Hara open seat held by outgoing Rep. Roy Hollandsworth, a moderate.
HD35: Moderate Joel Krater lost to TEA Party Rep. Scott Staffanson, who represents the GOP’s torpid wing.
HD36: Former Rep. Edward Hilbert, a Montana highway patrolman, lost to TEA Party wingnut Rep. Alan Doane, who is worried about an Obama conspiracy to confiscate ammunition.
HD40: TEA Partier Barry Usher won a three-way primary for the seat vacated by moderate Republican Tom Berry.
HD67: Michael Houghton did not campaign against TEA Partier Rep. Tom Burnett, who believes the state wouldn’t need money to treat mental illness if it were not for porn.
HD68: TEA Partier Art Wittich, who was convicted of corruption, was ousted moderate Bruce Grubbs.
HD69: Moderate Walt Sales beat TEA Partier Phil Olson in the race for seat TEA Partier Monforton dropped out of once he learned two GOPers were running against him.
HD71: Moderate Rep. Ray Shaw of Sheridan beat TEA Party birther Bob Wagner for the third time.
HD72: TEA Partier Brooke Erb lost to Tom Welch in this Dillon house seat held by Rep. Jeff Welborn, who’s running for the Senate.
SENATE TEA-3, GOP-4
SD 3: TEA Partier Keith Regier, who compares women to cattle, defeated challenger Don Kaltschmidt.
SD 7: TEA Partier Jennifer Fielder defeated her primary opponent.
SD10: Moderate Rep. Steve Fitzpatrick of Great Falls brutally trounced TEA Partier JC Kantorowicz.
SD15: Hertha Lund lost to TEA Partier Ryan Osmundson.
SD 26: Moderate Don Roberts won his three-way GOP Primary.
SD36: Moderate Rep. Jeff Wellborn beat TEA Partier Dale Stewart. Apparently having the support of Senate President Debby Barrett doesn’t mean much, since voters rejected her pick in favor of Wellborn.
SD 40: Terry Gauthier beat white supremacist candidate Drew Turiano.
Several primaries weren’t about the moderate vs TEA Party battle:
SD18: Pro-infrastructure candidate Steve Hinebauch beat two other pro-infrastructure candidates in the race to fill TEA Partier Matt Rosendale’s seat, since Rosendale is running for state auditor.
SD28: Mark Morse lost to incumbent Tom Richmond. This race was more about Morse’s criminal record.
The GOP also undertook to defraud voters in races like HD 13, where Sanders County GOP Chair (of the TEA Party wing) Gerald Cuvillier filed as a Democrat but lost to actual democratic candidate Debra Achatz in the primary.
In Billings HD 45, Rep. Zolnikov is a libertarian, which is different than a TEA Partier. He defeated Jon Bedford, who is even further to the right, and had posted evidence of his bigoted views on his Facebook page.