Republicans Turn Against Gianforte

Greg Gianforte refuses to tell the truth with more and more frequencyAs the campaign drags on, Greg Gianforte's persistent refusal to be honest with MT grows more and more disturbing

Republicans are sick of New Jersey Gianforte.

  1. He’s a loser.
  2. He’s a New Jersey Billionaire
  3. His views are extremist.

Don’t take my word for it, read it from a major Republican blog printed below.

Here’s the link: No Gianforte

Why Republicans Should Say, “Thanks, But No Thanks,” To Greg Gianforte

After waging the only unsuccessful state-wide campaign among Montana Republicans, former gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte seems to have the inside track on his party’s nomination for the upcoming special election for the U.S. House. After weeks of contrived “Will he or won’t be?” speculation (was there ever any doubt?), Gianforte is now officially in the mix. With all due respect to Mr. Gianforte, Republicans should say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Considered alone, the arguments for Gianforte make sense. He possesses high name ID, a strong fundraising apparatus, and a willingness to campaign hard. But his strengths are belied by considerable negatives, all of which the Republican Central Committee ignores at its peril.

Voting electors within the GOP should carefully consider all of the following before tapping Gianforte:

In a year when every other Republican won state elections, Gianforte lost. Right now, his name ID, while prominent, is a bug, not a feature. Democrats successfully (albeit unfairly) painted him as a “billionaire from New Jersey.” This strategy decimated his run against Bullock, and Democrats will use it again just as opportunely. The millions of dollars spent on negative ads by Democrats still have purchase today, and they will for some time.
Public lands. In similarly dubious fashion, Democrats pilloried Gianforte as a restrictive plutocrat who would block access to Montana’s public lands. While untrue, the narrative stuck, and certainly will endure through this election, as well.

Public lands. In similarly dubious fashion, Democrats pilloried Gianforte as a restrictive plutocrat who would block access to Montana’s public lands. While untrue, the narrative stuck, and certainly will endure through this election, as well.

Dinosaurs. TV ads featuring paleontologist Jack Horner labeled Gianforte as an anti-science creationist who thinks the world is only 6,000 years old. According to a Fox News report, Gianforte’s (excellent) communications director, Aaron Flint, “forwarded a comment made last year by Gianforte in which he said, ‘I believe young people should be taught how to think, not what to think, and a diversity of views are what should be presented.’” In spite of this sensible rebuttal, too many Montanans found Gianforte’s creationist ties disqualifying.

As The Western Word’s Mike Brown points out, “[Gianforte] is too far to the right for many people.” Brown, who was Sen. Conrad Burns’ former deputy state director, knows a thing or two about Republican politics in Montana. Gianforte’s struggles with independents and his inability to expand his core constituency in the face of an upstart opponent (more on this later) could cost Republicans a special election they have every reason to win.

Republicans should not underestimate Democrats in this election, especially Rob Quist.

Imagine the following scenario: a “straight-talking” political outsider, born and raised in Montana, one with the endorsement of a popular former governor in Brian Schweitzer, barnstorming the state — with Schweitzer on the stump — on a populist platform of “Montana values” who will “keep public lands public” in opposition to the wealthy, “out of state” Gianforte.

The candidate performs short musical riffs on social media, which quickly go viral. Aided by a friendly press, this upstart has no political record to speak of, and thus is largely exempt from Republican attack and media audit. In a truncated election cycle, where anything can happen, Gianforte struggles to win over the same centrists who rejected him in November. His opponent, a Democrat from Cut Bank, successfully turns the conventional political narrative on its head and captures just enough outsider-leaning, rural voters who embraced Donald Trump to eek out an upset. Can you say, Congressman Rob Quist?

Meanwhile, Zeno Baucus, U.S. attorney and son of Max, is reportedly mulling a run for the Democratic nomination. Decades of electoral evidence have affirmed the Baucus name in Montana. If left to face a candidate like Gianforte, who couldn’t get it done in an enormously favorable year for Republicans, even after injecting $6 million of his own wealth into his campaign, Democrats could, in this scenario, too, steal the election.

So who should Republicans pick? Other far-right choices like Scott Sales and Ken Miller are Gianforte Lite. If the goal is to “out conservative” the field, they might as well settle on Gianforte. (They also might as well spot Democrats 7-10 points off the top and prepare for a fight they may lose.)

But if the goal is to pick the strongest general election candidate, and to keep the seat in Republican hands for at least a decade, this one isn’t close: it’s Ed Buttrey.

Sen. Ed Buttrey

Sen. Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls

Sen. Buttrey was the first to declare for the vacancy, and brings with him more advantages than does Gianforte.

Buttrey is a Montana native and also a successful entrepreneur. His business background is diverse — he founded Cable Technology, a manufacturing company with significant military and aerospace contracts, and he owns real estate and tavern holdings. Unlike Gianforte, he has actual legislative experience.

And while Buttrey’s role in expanding Medicaid has rankled much of the far-right, that seems to be just fine with the Great Falls senator:

Buttrey said his work as a senator isn’t about following the party line wherever it leads, but about finding solutions. His work on Medicaid shows that.

On his campaign website for the 2014 election, he said he would support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but also makes the concession that it is law and pledges to work within the law to find a solution.

‘It’s the easiest thing in the world for a legislator to do to spout rhetoric and vote no on everything,’ Buttrey said. ‘You’re popular, you can defend your positions, but do you get anything done?’

Buttrey is one of very few legislators — from either party — to actually get things done in Helena. No other candidate is better equipped for the frenzied culture of Washington wheeling-and-dealing.

It’s this commitment to solutions, not ideology, that make Buttrey the stronger, more representative pick for all Montanans. If House Republicans drift to the unhinged right (as they are sometimes wont to do), Gianforte will almost certainly follow the establishment herd, whereas Buttrey, in Ryan Zinke and Donald Trump fashion, will break from party ranks, if necessary, and side with the people.

Moreover, successful Congressional representation is to a large degree a seniority game. Tenure matters. Why gamble on a wishy-washy Gianforte over a stable Buttrey? Would Gianforte treat the House like his former colleague Steve Daines did, as a jumping-off point to challenge Tester in 2018? Or to run again for Governor in 2020? With only one vote out of 435, we would like to see Montana’s next Congressional member commit to sticking around for awhile. Buttrey has promised that he would.

Finally, we couldn’t help but smile at the opening line in Gianforte’s announcement email to his supporters:

Cozying up to Zinke is clever, but anyone who follows Montana politics knows that Buttrey is much closer to Zinke than Gianforte is — personally, politically, etc. Republican Central Committee members know this, too.

Greg Gianforte had his turn, and he lost. It’s time for the GOP to look in a new direction, and go “all in” with a personable and proven legislator who won’t leverage this House seat as a stepping stone for higher office.

It is time, finally, for insider Republicans to put Montana voters ahead of party ideology, and the surest, most decisive way to do that is to nominate Ed Buttrey.


40 Comments on "Republicans Turn Against Gianforte"

  1. In order to save he country from Trump, Republicans have to put country ahead of party and vote for whomever is the Democratic candidate. This will help send a message to other Republicans that backing Trump could be detrimental to their political careers.

    • Unfortunately, that will also mean accepting positions that they are convinced are in direct contrast to their own financial self-interest. One can only hope that enough of the monied interests of the GOP can control the “tear it all down” monster they created with the Tea Party. Their lack of control over this portion of their constituency is what got us Trump in the first place. I am afraid that greed and self interest are too strong to get anything done. The way McConnel and the rest are obliterating the commonly understood rules of procedure and collegiality, I think the only hope is for enough non fringe people to pressure sitting Republicans with their political future to make them make any movement. I do believe that Trump being do out of control might have an effect but will it be too late?

  2. One would think that nominating Buttrey and sending him to the U.S. House, where he could do no harm, would be the perfect way for MT Republicans to remove him and his heresies from the MT Senate, where he can, from their perspective, do harm.

  3. Is there so much outside money,
    that some of it would finance a Buttrey bid?
    But if Buttrey would fine tune his outside money,
    and run as the decent man he is,
    then who are the most compelling Democratic contenders
    To Represent Montana in the People’ House under Paul Ryan.
    Either Curtis or Quist against Buttrey would be of unusual high quality people.
    For they are all good, decent, hard working contributors to society
    and that might make for an important Special Election in Montana history.

  4. What NOthing on AManda Curtis? She carries No baggage except republican lies. a totally truthful canidate who ONly got 4 months to campaign for the US senate race….Yet pick up 40% of the electorate. Stop leaving this Mighty woman out of the equation!

  5. Excuse me for going off topic, but this is important. The GF Tribune has a REAL reporter once again. Wonder how long she’ll last? Not long I’d bet.

  6. Thanks for the link to the Trib article. Nice follow-up to the original article.

  7. Edward Scheterlak | February 2, 2017 9:58 PM at 9:58 PM |

    Every day I have less respect for this site.This post while ostensibly is anti Gianforte is actually an advertisement for Buttrey and Quist. You republish the glowing praises of Buttrey from a republican blog part of which in a left handed way praises Quist as the greatest threat to the republicans. Meanwhile, you never mention Amanda Curtis, who is the only progressive candidate running. What is wrong with you? I’ve heard that Quist is a nice guy. BUT, he is an entertainer with zero political experience and a SOS (Same Old Sh*t)middle of the road platform. It is exactly because he could appeal to republicans that we don’t need him in the House. Stack him against Zinke and you find little substantive difference. Difference is what we NEED. I’m starting to think that the Cowgirl has been kidnapped by GOP good old boys.

  8. Rob Quist has name recognition in Montana, on both sides of the divide. He is a staunch Democrat, with the endorsement of Brian Schweitzer. We need an anti-Trump that sends a message that America’s founders’ values still matter. Do we want to win this election? Think Ron Reagan.

    • Well, actually, I think that you’re very wrong. I know who Rob Quist is, but then, I’m older than dirt! And I remember watching him in the seventies. But I would lay you good money that more YOUNG people (remember them) know who Amanda Curtis is than know who Rob Quist is. Rob has great appeal to the adult diaper crowd, but not so much for folks who still have KIDS in diapers!

      Amanda can do this. She’s got this one. Don’t worry. Don’t fret. AND, I hear that she’s a singer too. She’s the future, and us old farts are the passed. Hard to fight for Montana between naps!…………and nappies!

  9. Rob Quist has taken some very progressive stances in recent interviews. Amanda Curtis didn’t get the Millenials to turn out for her 2 years ago so what evidence is there that she will now? Especially in a special election with lower turnout overall. She seems like a “mini-Hillary” to me. Extremely polarizing, popular with the latte liberals but how does an angry activist with a nose ring win the swing counties that propelled Tester and Bullock to victory? Not seeing it happening. Dems would be foolish not to nominate RQ. Just like they were foolish not to nominate Bernie.

    • The millenials I know worked and voted for Rep. Curtis.
      Speaking of work, imo ONLY, it’d be a lot more helpful, to ALSO comment on which contender you would work for.

      And which contender would be most effective worker in the People’s House under Paul Ryan.

      For me, that means being most effective with Representatives I now observe being the most effective strategists for progressive legislation during repressive Legislation and the new Administration’s strategical blitzkrieg
      of opressive Orders, Memos, appointees, and tweets.

      To scratch the surface of who might be the most effective communicator, do what millenials have been doing, turn to facebook to follow Rep. Curtis.

      Then turn facebook to catch up with Rob Quist.

      No wonder the pro-Senator Ed Buttrey endorsement framed a Buttrey-Quist picture.

      But resolutely avoided letting the reader frame a Buttrey-Curtis picture.

      A Rep.Curtis-Senator Buttrey campaign and Special Election could well be decent,informative maybe even transformative toward pioneering better Politics in Montana History.

      That’s the Curtis-Buttrey picture that’s now working for me.

      If, Montana would stand up and speak and act against outside money in OUR upcoming Special Election, that would make it easier for Ed Buttrey to fine-tune any outside money into his campaign.

      And if some of the above makes sense, get involved with with work now being done in Helena.

      HB 330, now in Commitee hearing?, looks almost too good to be true.
      What an effective way to signal to out$ide money that we are clawing back at those who have clawed us.

      What an effective way to finance Public Education, infra structure catch up, and new employment opportunites, especially co-financed projects with Coalstrip 3 & 4 Owners for Coalstrip workers.

      However, let’s face it. The Koch brothers have a friend in Neil Gorsuch, and many, many friends long trained TO NOT RAISE TAXES in Montana.

      Let’s face it. We do not know what Steve Bannon has on his calendar. We do not know what fodder is being loaded into Bannon’s upcoming daily cannons.

      However, if things look more and more crazed in DC, all the more reason to work for decent Politics and Politicians in Montana.

      And decent Montana Income Taxation of Taxable Incomes over $400K per year at 8.9%; instead of 6.9%
      BECAUSE BELOW $400k Taxed at only 6.0%.

      imo ONLY, could be that HB 330 could be a real good deal for Montana, fiscally and educationally.

      For we’d get educated about what forces strategize, energize, re-educate, fund and finance against HB 330.

        10 Section 1. Section 15-30-2103, MCA, is amended to read: 11 “15-30-2103. Rate of tax. (1) There must be levied, collected, and paid for each tax year upon the 12 taxable income of each taxpayer subject to this tax, after making allowance for exemptions and deductions as 13 provided in this chapter, a tax on the brackets of taxable income as follows: 14 (a) on the first $2,900 of taxable income or any part of that income, 1%; 15 (b) on the next $2,200 of taxable income or any part of that income, 2%; 16 (c) on the next $2,700 of taxable income or any part of that income, 3%; 17 (d) on the next $2,700 of taxable income or any part of that income, 4%; 18 (e) on the next $3,000 of taxable income or any part of that income, 5%; 19 (f) on the next $3,900 of taxable income or any part of that income, 6%; 20 (g) on the next $382,600 of taxable income or any part of that income, 6.9%; 21 (h) on any taxable income in excess of $17,400 $400,000 . . . .

        • 8.9%?! Are tmhey serious? Most Montanans will never use a 1\4 of the services that they will be carrying the burden to maintain. Yet the higher income brackets do use those services exclusively. Your average Montanan does not use an airport weekly, require maintenance on huge estates subsidised by state land access, security of said premises subsidized by local law enforcement. What I am getting at is: maintaining the wealthy is expensive and that maintenance is not vital to their survival so why should average Montanans pay for their luxuries, especially when Montanans earn some of the lowest wages in the county yet work just as hard, even harder considering the extremes in temperature and terrain. The tea partiers are bowing to the Koch Kings and throwing their own people under tmhe bus.

          • Robin and. . . At same time the Montana 1%, w over $400K Taxable Income,are the fastest growing income class, for a few years they have effectively been SUBSIDIZED BY ONLY 6.9% TAX RATE X TAXABLE INCOME.
            YES, 11.9% Tax Rate was equitable.
            Yes i guess, 8.9% may be politically doable
            IF PEOPLE ADVOCATE FOR HB 330 for
            THEN WE MAY FIND OUT HOW MUCH MONTHLY PROJECTED REVENUE FROM HB 330 when it would go in force during 2018.

            Guess what, if the 80% Republicans who are non VCE now had controlling Legislature interest they might be so fair, and so prudent, and so respectful of Party Principles they would vote to return to 11.9% Rate in 2018 forward.

            And right now one time borrow aginst say 1/2 of the 2018 6.9-11.9 % Projected Tax Revenue Increase because of HB 330; and spend that for 2017 Education and infra-structure=
            NO COST TO 99%.

            Otherwise the Paul Ryan reductionists of Montana are going to do the numbers and inform OPI how much money if any is available for K-1, Salary equity, Special Ed and special testing.

            Give it some thought.
            Roll back the 6.9% Tax incentivising experiment.

            Bring back top 11.9% Rate during 2019.
            Top 8.9% Rate during 2018.

    • Right you are, Jonny. I forgot. Butte is a hotbed of Latte Liberalism if I remember correctly. BTW, where can I get a good Latte next time I’m in Butte?

    • Regular Johnny, you claim she is a “mini-Hillary” oh that’s rich!!! And somewhat insulting. Are you aware Amanda was one of the only state legislators brave enough to support Bernie from the very start!? Amanda in fact worked and stumped for Bernie in Montana, not Hillary. You know who won Montana’s primary? It wasn’t Hillary. It’s obvious your comment is only meant to be a smear, if you are going to publicly smear people at least be man enough to use your real name….otherwise you are nothing more than a coward.

      • Fair enough. It was a bit of a straw man argument so you were right to call me out on it. And yet, I’m not the first one to make the comparison especially with the “it’s her turn” clamoring her supporters keep espousing (where have we heard that before?). I get why people like her. She is courageous about her convictions. I guess I just feel like it might be too soon for her to make another statewide run again.

        I’d love to see her take on Daines again with a full election cycle to make her case. I see her as more of a Senator type than a Congresswoman who has to be constantly campaigning for reelection and thus has to be more of a consensus builder (Rob) than a firebrand (Amanda). The House seat would be more of a stepping stone for her anyway whereas I think Quist would stick there for awhile. I could definitely picture her in the U.S. Senate though. In 2020 there will be a larger percentage of Millenials in the electorate than ever before and they will be fired up against Trump. She’d have a few more legislative successes under her belt and will still be quite young so I like her chances in that race.

        Right here, right now. I want to win. Quist has an outstanding shot at doing that right now, he matches up extremely well against Gianforte.

        • “I guess I just feel like it might be too soon for her to make another statewide run again.”

          Oh really? And WHEN did Rob make his latest statewide run? Just curious.

          Look, we love Rob Quist. But he’s just a wee bit too old (like me) to start down a new career path. Hell, maybe I’ll take up banjo and try out for the new improved Mission Mountain Wood Band! Ya never know. I’ve still got my mojo! (sort of)

          I’m beginning to think that you are simply a troll. Rightwing troll at that. Hope they aren’t paying you for this. And yes, I used to be an English teacher. I can spot nonsense from a mile away.

          It’s time for a woman. It’s time for Amanda. It’s time for a Butte woman! Can’t get more Montana than that. Think Nancy Keenan, NOT Hilary Clinton!

          • He hasn’t. Thus he has zero political baggage for the Repubs to go after in the general unlike your preferred candidate. .


            I can assure you there is nothing “right wing” about my views. Your comments about Rob being “too old” and “adult diapers” seem rather trollish to me. Bernie is ancient and young people adore him. It’s never too late to take up a higher calling. You might actually enjoy picking up a banjo, I learned some licks on it last year and it’s exceptionally gratifying and also en vogue right now. Just like a certain entertainer turned congressional candidate. And voting for any candidate simply based on their gender seems rather shortsighted to me.

            • Derp. Dude, you need a new career field. Troll just isn’t working out for you.

              GO AMANDA!

            • Yikes! I just followed that link. Not sure what possessed her to post those comments on her FB page. She does realize GG has the money to play them on continuous loop 3-4 times every commercial break until the election right?

              Why would you mock gun owners and christians when trying to win a red state? Gulp. If Dems nominate her I fear another curb stomping is in the cards.

              • Is it Halloween already? Man. The trolls are out in force tonight. THINK, Jimmy. I know it’s painful, but it’s time.


                • You’re Amanda or bust. We get it. Maybe lay off the koolaide.

                  • Okaaaay! Maybe we should just run another sure-fire winner you boys wanted, like say John Walsh! Another nobody picked because he looked perfect. Nice safe bet, right? Anybody opposed to Jonny was on kooliade too.

                    Here, have some koolaide to go with that egg on your face.

                    I’m tired of pulling sure picks out of the general public who have really NO record to scrutinize. Some “progressive stances” just doesn’t cut it with me. I want to see a record!

                    But, the Dem leadership has a great habit of screwing things up. I have confidence that they’ll screw this one up too.

                    • Rob is hardly a “nobody.” Your girl crush is a school teacher who’s been a state rep all of 3 years and we just put her up 2 years ago and she got crushed.

                      This article poses a very realistic scenario on how Quist can win. I’ve yet to hear anything similar out of the Curtis cult. All I’m hearing is “it’s her turn (again)” and “she’s a woman yayy!”

                    • It’s kind of trolly out today. No one under forty-five has ever heard of the guy. Do your own experiment. See what happens. I did. I know. GOOSE EGG! Another Dem goose chase!

                      Done w/ u now. You win! Arguing w/ trolls is as pointless as ur points!

                    • Guess what? Young people don’t vote, like, AT ALL.

                      The political candidate graveyard is riddled with candidates who were going to “energize the youth vote this time.”

                      Add in a special election with no sexy presidential election on the ballot and you have more youth apathy and “oh there was an election?” “Sorry I was hungover.”

  10. Greg Gianforte lost the race for governor in the election where the four other statewide Republican candidates won. And his loss was stunning — 30% of those voting for Republican A.G. Tim Fox did not vote for Gianforte!

  11. I posted this link below, but it’s worth repeating. If you support Amanda Curtis, let your county delegates know! Here’s a list of the chairs and co-chairs for the counties, with links to their emails:

    Committeeman and committeewoman also have a vote.

    Voter turnout will make or break this election, so it’s important that we have a candidate people can get excited about and work for in the short time we will have.

    Plus, it’s time Montana Democrats start putting their money where their mouths are, and support more Montana women candidates for national office.

  12. I can’t tell if you’re being serious Merv. Butte is one of the most left leaning areas of the state along with Missoula. According to Wikipedia Amanda gained her seat there by running unopposed. So yes, it’s as much of a liberal enclave as we have in Montana outside of Missoula county with a long history of strong union activity. I’m not here to bash Amanda. She’s a dynamic young legislator but her Facebook skills you rave about actually amount to politically toxic oversharing and the Montana GOP has already created a compilation of the most damning clips and created a website dedicated to it called
    They’re so pumped to face her they didn’t even wait until she got the nomination. Rob Quist on the other hand terrifies them. His demographic appeal compares very favorably to John Tester and Brian Schweitzer, two candidates who have shown us what winning democratic campaigns in Montana look like. Amanda lost by nearly 20 points just two years ago. Her supporters claim it’s because she only had four months to campaign but she’d only have 2.5 months in this special election so what exactly would be different this time?

    Rob’s popularity in eastern Montana (really all over MT) makes him a real threat to win this race. Isn’t that what we all want? Another progressive voice in the house? Or to pat ourselves on the back with a moral victory and then watch Gianforte getting sworn in in a few months? I know what I would choose.

  13. Read my post where I explain why I (a conservative Republican) agree with this Cowgirl post:

    • “VCEs don’t understand why Tim Fox, Ryan Zinke, and Donald Trump won by such margins.

      They don’t get it that VCEs Matt Rosendale and Elsie Arntzen won only because of Donald Trump’s coattails.”

      VCE being Very Conservative Evangelicals.

      Those above words from Ed Berry ring true for me.

      So, Dr. Berry, I am of course wondering how well can Senator Ed Buttrey fine tune the inflow of out of Montana money, that would flow into the Buttrey for House Representative campaign.

      Could be that Senator Buttrey and Representative Curtis would run decent, Montana based Campaigns with Montana people, that would jointly stir up interest and optimism with non VCE people, Independents, and Democrats.

      I for one find your Post to be a contribution offered in a helpful fashion, so I doubly thankyou.

      • Dear Bob, Thank you. My message is Democrats and Real Republicans have a common opponent: the VCEs. VCEs masquerade as Republicans. Real Republicans work with Democrats on bipartisan bills. VCEs do not. VCEs almost stopped the bipartisan CSKT Water Compact.

        Voters do not understand the difference between Real Republicans and VCEs. Therefore, voters re-elected almost all the VCEs in 2016. My book describes the difference and lists names. If voters read my book, both Democrats and Real Republicans will benefit by electing more of their candidates to replace VCEs. My book will be on free Kindle download from Feb 15 to 19.

        On the coming race for Congress, if the MTGOP nominates anyone but non-VCE Buttrey, they will likely lose if Dems nominate a good candidate, of which there are several. The coming Congressional election will not have the Trump coattails that pulled in VCEs Arntzen and Rosendale in 2016.

        • Looking forward to free download especially how well researched is outside money into VCE circles in Montana. Myself, I prefer three terms.Say VCE,Non VCE, and in-between. The term Real Republican turns me off and sideways.

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