Quist, Curtis, Gianforte eyeing House seat

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It will grow, but right now the field of Democratic candidates for the special election to replace Ryan Zinke is already nearing a dozen.  Brian Schweitzer has effectively bowed out by having endorsed Rob Quist, the well-known Montana musician.  Zeno Baucus, a lawyer and Max’s son, has expressed interest as have Amanda Curtis and Pat Noonan and a handful of other former and current legislators and unknowns. Sources close to Denise Juneau and Monica Lindeen are saying they have chosen not to run.  No word from the likes of John Bohlinger or Dirk Adams.

The nominating conventions will be held 75 before the special election, which itself will be scheduled (by law) for a date 85-115 days after the congressional vacancy occurs.  From start to finish the whole election will be slightly greater than three and a half months, so it’s a sprint and not a marathon.  And the crucial question is not necessarily who runs, but who votes.  That goes for the primary and the general.  The primary is decided at special conventions and only a portion of the total delegates will show up.  Attendance at such functions, in both parties, is rarely anywhere close to 100%.  And the general election will take place late spring, an isolated event with no other contests on the same day or even the same month.

As for the candidates, Quist is the most interesting name on the list, for he brings something of an important nature that Democrats often overlook and usually find a way to dismiss in our search for congressional candidates: he is from somewhere other than the legislature or Helena and appeals to folks all over the state. He is a little bit country, not rock and roll.  His songs have been covered by famous country artists, and he still performs regularly.  He wears a cowboy hat and a cowboy scarf, an image that can’t hurt Dems nowadays.  In his nascent campaign so far, he has talked about the need for the federal government to treat farmers better.

Greg Gianforte is by all accounts planning a run, having waited patiently to ensure that Schweitzer was out. Gianforte is a strong contender because he has name and money, but he is by no means a prohibitive favorite. The GOP is not happy with him for the limp campaign he ran for governor, and many Republicans agree with the Montana Democratic Party that Gianforte is “from New Jersey” and therefore fully ineligible for Montana office.  Gianforte was not helped in December when it was reported that he had recently given $20 million to his New Jersey alma mater, the Stevens Institute of Technology, a donation that dwarfs the money he has pledged to Montana State University.  Expect him to hastily rectify this political error by increasing his philanthropy to the Montana University system prior to the special election.

Scott Sales, Ed Buttrey and a few other legislators will be running on the Republican side as well.  Buttrey faces the herculean task of trying to convince a Tea Party wackadoodle crowd at the nominating convention that his stewardship, and co-authorship, of the Medicaid Expansion bill in 2015 is something that they should appreciate.  


34 Comments on "Quist, Curtis, Gianforte eyeing House seat"

  1. Ok. *sigh.* Where does one even begin in the face of so much false information? Gianforte is NOT, I repeat NOT from New Jersey! Greg did spend some time in New Jersey, going to college. Then he and his wife moved to Montana, after falling in love with our beautiful state. They proceeded to raise their children here, and have been living in the state for OVER 20 years! Think about it, my eldest daughter is 22 years old. Gianforte has been here for an entire generation. And what “limp campaign?” Which credited source has said that? Please, I’d love to know. And how do you know what sort of arrangement he had with MSU regarding his donation? I’ll be honest, I’m not privy to that information. and that’s fine, because how much he blessed the University with is none of my business, and I don’t find him to be any less a candidate based on that. I will say thanks for the information, even though it looks like some very crucial bits fell through the cracks.

    • Are you talking about the same Guy who said he made a mistake starting his Business in MOntana it should have been in the Dakotas? Our the fact he spent a lot of time trying to kick screw Montana Fishermen’s River access?

      The guy is just another LGBT bigot to me we dont need.

  2. Conspicuously missing from Lucy’s ‘splainin of Mr. Gianforte’s creation story, is the fact that like his good buddy “5th Generation Montanan” Steve Daines, Greg Gianforte was born in California.

  3. Edward Scheterlak | January 8, 2017 9:11 PM at 9:11 PM |

    Anyone who considers Gianforte had better be another millionaire. We don’t need a rich, right wing, job exporter in office in Montana. This is the guy that sued the state to deny access to trout streams near his house. This is the guy who actually believes that the earth is 6,000 years old. As for “a little bit country” what is Brian thinking? There is a difference between being “not from the legislature” and being a country singer. Being popular as an entertainer is something Reagon and Trump have as credentials. We have a proven progressive who has laid it on the line for regular Montanans and the democratic party in Amanda Curtis. She has name recognition, courage, and ethics. I’m surprised that the Cowgirl is so dismissive of her candidacy. I thought progressive politics were your goal. Let’s stop kowtowing to the good old boy network and get behind a strong woman with good ideas. This is the Rankin state. Where better than here?

    • It’s pretty unlikely that Amanda Curtis can win this house seat, she was badly beaten by Steve Daines in the US Senate contest, I see little reason to believe she will do better this time around. She might have done better against Daines if she had lost that funky 19th century hair-do, this isn’t 1916 and she isn’t Jeanette Rankin. If the MT Democratic party wants to throw this election to the Rs just run Curtis, it will be a repeat of the recent presidential election. We need a candidate who can actually win!

      • “Badly beaten”? Really? Amanda bravely stepped up when the Dems were at their lowest because of the scandal that caused Walsh to drop out. Everyone thought a DEM, any Dem would be crushed and would only serve as a sacrificial lamb. But with ONLY 80 days Amanda went from a total unknown at 13% to 40%, raised one million dollars in small donations, made a sitting millionaire Congressman look like a stuffed shirt during the nationally televised debate and excited thousands of new young progressive voters. Keep in mind Daines, in the those 80 days, had over 5 million left to spend and had several Koch funded groups spreading lies about Amanda and she still was able to win 40% of the vote. This time the difference is BOTH candidates will be starting at the same time and with the same amounts of money (huge difference, yuuuge). Other than GG I don’t see any “R” with the fund raising acumen of Amanda or the work ethic that took her over 8,000 miles crisscrossing Montana and visiting every county, or that have over 148,000 voters ready to vote for her AGAIN and extremely excited to get to work for her this time. The more folks saw and heard Amanda speak in person the more they like what she had to say….very much like Bernie.

        • Will your wife continue prevaricating on the issue of CO2 “cap and trade,” or will she now openly reveal her support for President Obama’s plan? He said: “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlTxGHn4sH4

          • Craig, I don’t think she ever supported Obama’s plan. It is all moot now anyway since Republicans can now do as they please and set ANY policy they want, “cap and trade” is dead. The problem I see is when Republican politicians say they support coal and oil they in fact truly mean they ONLY support the coal and oil companies and NOT the miners and workers or the consumers. The energy and coal companies have a proven track record of stealing retirements, throwing their own workers under the bus and screwing the consumers in search of greater and greater profits, someone has to put the working Montanans first. I’m not sure what energy policies the Republican politicians will introduce but I do know Amanda will always put the miners, workers, and consumers of Montana first and do whatever it takes to support them through providing continued meaningful employment and protected retirement and pensions. There are many great ideas that could help Colstrip and the men and women who work and live there but the Company bigwigs call them all “nonstarters” because ideas like a natural gas line, expanding to solar and wind and updating coal generators, etc, etc will not serve their out-of-state shareholders. Montana exports more than half of our electricity out of state and we pay some of the highest electric prices in the nation…Why is that? When we had regulated energy we had the lowest rates in the country, just imagine the thousands of jobs, server farms, and new manufacturing we would have today if we still had cheap electricity! If the Colstrip power plant was still largely Montana owned or if the state had a stake in it we could control our own energy future but sadly we gave that all up. We must put Montana’s working class families first because the greedy Corporations will never do that…and all decisions from now on should be based on that reality.

            • I disagree that the issue is moot as there are elections again in 2 years, 4 years, 6 years….. Things change. Your wife prevaricated when asked a direct question about cap and trade in 2014. Talked all around it just as you did here and attempted to shift focus. She in on the record as supporting C02 emission regulations. Funny, you don’t know her positions on this after all this time.
              I believe Montana utilities have been paying off their WPPS obligations in their rate base charges as well as their commitments to wind power.

              Anyway, thank you for the reply.

              • One thing that isn’t going to change is that Trump will be our President for the next 4 years….”Cap and Trade” is dead for at least 4, maybe 8 years.
                As far as Amanda goes I think she did not commit to a position in 2014 because “Cap and Trade” was/is still very much out for debate and the empirical data as to whether it will work on a national scale or not is very light to say the least. Even though the idea was first introduced as a “Market Based Solution” way back in the 80’s there are many unanswered questions and much speculation from all sides. Keep in mind Amanda is not a typical politician, she prefers to study something and weigh all the facts before committing to a position – she is in no way a rigid ideologue, even though that is politically expedient. At first glance I personally have doubts about a national “cap and trade” but am open to studying it further (I guess you would say I don’t know my own “positions on this after all this time”). It seems to be working in California and China plans to launch a “cap and trade” program (the worlds largest) this year so much more info will come out as time goes by. Ultimately if any bill hurts working Montanans more than it would help I know she would vote against it. That may seem like dancing around the subject to you but some issues deserve an open minded nonrigid approach including carbon emissions and each bill has to be considered on a case by case basis. What is your opinion on “cap and trade”? And are you 100% sure your position is right?

                • You sound less than sure what your wife’s position is. “I think…” Why don’t you know when you take the opportunity to speak on her behalf. As you know, a direct question, on cap and trade was put to her during the 2014 debates. Still no position on this very important energy issue as she is running again? In Washington State, Dem Gov. Inslee is pushing a $25 per metric ton tax on carbon. The last Dem national platform position was very favorable towards such measures.

                  My opinion is not important. Getting politicians to declare their positions is critical for the electorate to make informed choices.

        • Daines is Formidable Curtis did Great Job | January 9, 2017 8:30 PM at 8:30 PM |

          Truth is Daines is far more formidable than we dems give him credit. Curtis got an organization off the ground quick, and raise alot of money. It’s impressive. There’s really no problem with Curtis. What the Helena Dem crowd hasn’t fully appreciated is how tough it will be to defeat Daines. He’s basically Rehberg 2.0 w/o all the garbage. Drunken horse falls, boat wrecks, etc. Daines is a very skilled politician, has robust organization under him, and folks need to stop slighting Curtis for losing that race. Daines is a multi-cycle endeavor, just like Burger King Rehberg was.

      • Her hair style is irrelevant and had nothing to do with her defeat in 2014.

    • Ed, You’re confused. Montana Cowgirl is NOT interested in progressive programs; progressiveness is NOT their goal. They like to get behind safe establishment figures who won’t rock the boat.

  4. Why not mention better candidates such as Schreiner or McCarthy? I think its time we realize promoting ideologs won’t win us an election and they definitely don’t represent the majority of Montanans. We can win this if we get off our high horse and start focusing on the interests of the majority of of the people who make up this great state.

  5. Probably stepping into with this. Despite personally respecting her efforts and stance on the issues facing our state, it is unlikely Amanda Curtis would prevail in this particular election. Expected low turnout will benefit the Republican candidate. It is an unfortunate fact Democrtratic leaning voters are poor participants under the best of circumstances. A left leaning, progressive female candidate may further energize the trolls to come out. This is no endorsement of a singing cowboy either. Didn’t we stop making those movies along time ago.

  6. Lucy

    Donations to a public institution are not a private matter. They are a public matter. I do not believe that the public favors not having knowledge of the possibly manipulative donations of major donors such as the Koch brothers or Gianforte.


  7. Gianforte is from Wayne, PA. Not New Jersy though he did live there before coming to Montana. He is not a good choice for Montana no matter where he came from. He is power hungry and very anxious to turn christianize this state. As for his donation? Dirty dark money with an agenda and strings attached. Not given for the graciousness of simply giving.

  8. I don’t use the term “furriner” very much, but Gianforte qualifies. I actually hope the Republicans nominate him.

  9. Turnkey Name Rec | January 9, 2017 2:57 PM at 2:57 PM |

    Quist has turnkey name rec literally everywhere in the state. It’s the Al Franken strategy. Despite what folks may/not think of Schweitzer, the guy is a backroom genius when it comes to campaigns. His backing Quist = pure pragmatism. Quist will work well and doesn’t have internal party infighting baggage. Libertarian populism is a winning formula in Our Fine State.

  10. With full disclosure I am a friend of Rob Quist’s and have known him since early college days and as I do my best to put my bias aside 3 things I can tell you about Rob which are #1 work ethic as he grew up on a farm in Cutbank and has truly lived and embodies the farmer’s mind set with his approach to success in life. #2 Rob has always been balanced and I firmly believe that he brings that asset to decision making and most importantly into listening to both sides of an issue before taking action. He has his own opinions mind you but fairness is a cornerstone of his stances. #3. Rob is calm and cool under fire and doesn’t live in a world of knee jerk reactionism that we see far too often in today’s political environment. To summarize he is a fair minded man that wants the best for his state and the people of his state and will work his fingers to the bone just as he has done with the various boards, councils that he has sat on just like he has done to master his own art. He will carry the same success into the political arena and make MT proud that they elected him should he have that great fortune to do so.

  11. Rob Quist is much more than a successful ‘singing cowboy’. He is a savvy Montanan who has involved himself in many activities that represent the interests of his fellow Montana citizens. As a board member of the Montana Arts Council, Rob has had experience working with the Montana Legislature. The fact that Rob has developed friendly connections with people of diverse political perspectives puts him in a very desirable position when the time comes to facilitate actions that truly benefit all Montanans. The advantage of being “not a politician” will give Rob a ‘leg up’ so far as actually getting something done in a Congress that has been treading political water for so long. Rob is a very intelligent Montanan who understands the concerns of farmers, teachers, small business owners, and the working middle class of Montana. He is a good listener and will be a steadfast representative of all Montana citizens. We should do what we can to let him “Sing our Song” in Washington D.C.

  12. To marginalize Rob Quist as “the singing cowboy” is not only disparaging, but misleading. Rob Quist may not be a political insider, but he is no stranger to public service. He has worked with the Department of Commerce in promoting Montana’s ambassador program, as well as the Office of Public Instruction in shaping curriculum. For a number of years, he’s served on the Montana Arts Council; he’s donated countless hours to benefits and charities across Montana . And if his music reaches across states and borders and human hearts, then I think it’s the kind of humanity we could use right about now.

    • I agree with you on this. I am lefter than most Bernie-ites in this state, and I love Amanda Curtis’ politics, but I really don’t think she can win. Let’s go with Quist for a change. We’ve been failing miserably with the suits, and I’m afraid Amanda comes off as a suit to most Montanans.

  13. Amanda Curtis is an impressive, resourceful, intelligent woman who will have a long career in Montana’s political landscape. She is a worthy opponent against any candidate and a strong Butte Democrat.

  14. Grass Roots Democrat | January 11, 2017 12:53 PM at 12:53 PM |

    Hands down, Pat Noonan would be the best congressman for Montana. But I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t want to run. He already witnessed first hand how short sighted and politically dumb some of the Bernie folks can be. If the morons in Gallatin and Park Co. wouldn’t have supported that vile women from Livingston, Noonan would have unseated Roger Koopman and been the only other democrat victory next to Bullock. I’d be prepared for the Bernie folks to get behind Curtis and if she loses the nomination expect a response that mirrors a toddler’s tantrum and costs democrats the election.

    • Attacking “Bernie folks” doesn’t do Pat any favors. I do expect Bernie supporters to support Amanda because she was the first and one of the only Montana Democrats brave enough to stump for Bernie from day one. Other MT Dems (including several current candidates for Zinke’s seat) embraced Bernie only after Bernie won the Montana primary, proved to be very popular…and they thought it would help their political careers. If you look back at her 2014 Senate campaign you will find Amanda was saying the same things Bernie would be saying two years later in 2016, all of which brings the Democratic party back to our Progressive FDR New Deal roots. Amanda excited thousands of new young voters in the same way Bernie did and that is how a true Grass Root movement begins. If Amanda does not get the nomination there will be no “toddler’s tantrum” but there might not be any voter excitement and turnout may be much lower. (I don’t think that could be considered a “toddler’s tantrum”.) BTW- If Establishment Dems like yourself keep insulting and marginalizing Bernie supporters the entire Democratic Party will ultimately suffer and continue to lose elections. The 2016 Dem primary proved that thousands and thousands more supported Bernie than the Establishment Dem candidate, fighting this true “Grass Roots Democrat” movement is an exercise in futility and a missed opportunity to move the MT Democratic Party forward. Corporate/Wall Street Dems are on the way out whether you like it or not, young people are sick of them and want actual progress and a future.

  15. I think the word your looking for is neo-liberal. Here’s the straight dope on how Dems lost young people. Ok, young people who are smart, just to clarify.http://www.truthdig.com/tag/neoliberalism

  16. Advice to the MT Democratic party.

    Coalesce around a candidate that will energize all democratic voters and put the full support and resources behind that candidate.

    This election is crucial and will send a resounding message that we will not sit still and mark time waiting for the orange chimpanzee to implode.

  17. The comment about Berners having a tantrum is about as out of place as my criticism of the nice old ladies who have been holding the Democrats party apparatus together here in the hills. My active participation in attempting to eliminate the flow of cash in our electoral process has been something I have been proud of since 1968. The California Berniecrats have made a pretty impressive showing of themselves in the voting for delegates to choose the next DNC Party Chair. The fire of progressive politics has involved more citizens in this nation than did the old party drearyness, and the tradition of buying politicians like baseball cards. I have met both Mr Quist and Amanda, I still have a bumper sticker that advertises her name on my car. I do believe Rob can handle the touring required to win an election, and the Berners might be turned off by the picture of Amanda posing with the party’s choice after the convention in Philly. I was a Bernie Delegate to the State Convention and I thought the party could have obtained a lot of support from the riff raff who may have voted for a socialist President, but sadly the effects of Citizens United seem to apply to both of the major partys now.

  18. I was just catching up on this thread and I would agree that the comment from Grass Roots about some of the Bernie supporters was a little out of place. But I was shocked to see Kevin Curtis take pot shots at Pat Noonan for no reason. Just like calling the Bernie people names doesn’t do Noonan any justice, seeing the vitriol toward Noonan from Kevin Curtis does even less justice for Amanda. Especially since the comment about Bernie was from an anonymous internet troll and the gross attack on Noonan was from a candidate’s husband. It’s really too bad, I would have supported Amanda but her husband calling Noonan a “corporate democrat” was way over the line. I have the utmost respect for Noonan and everything he has done for Montana. Besides when I take to Pat about this race and asked him about Amanda he had only great things to say about her. Shame on you Kevin.

  19. I’m going to the convention to listen to who has the best strategy to take on the Republicans in Montana and DC for this special election, the midterms, and the next four years. If this becomes a rehashing of the past election and airing of petty grievances I’m walking out and not going to look back. If the party wants to be part of what’s going on in the streets, then come join us otherwise you all can continue bickering about partisan purity.

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