Tag Archives: Joanne Blyton

Victoria’s Secret, and Race Eugenics: Right Wing Puts More Loons on the Ballot

At 5p.m. today the deadline passed for anybody seeking office in 2014.  And there was some action.

First, as the Flathead Memo reports, we have a new Republican candidate in the US Senate race, a woman named Susan Cundiff. As far as I can tell, she is the first Republican woman to run for U.S. Senate in MT. She also may be the first female Republican ever to run in a US Senate primary in Montana. I believe the first woman to run as Democrat for U.S. senate is Melinda Gohper. Cundiff works at the University and is currently a sales Associate for Victoria’s Secret.  In case you’re not a frequenter of malls, this is a lingerie store.

You’ve come a long way, GOP.

Roger Root racistMeanwhile, a man named Roger Root, a convicted felon and proud racist who authored a website entitled  “The Respectable Racist: 100 Things You Didn’t Know About Black People,” also entered the Senate race today. With his resume, RogerRootRacist2including overt, ugly racism, bordering on eugenics and a few felony convictions including some on gun charges, I expect him to be very successful in attracting many Tea Party votes, stealing them from Steve Daines.

Embattled TEA Party Sen. Jason Priest, who faces four criminal charges, did not file, so the senate seat he would have run in will have a GOP primary between two current house TEA Partiers. Local Republicans will have the pleasure of deciding between David Howard and Joanne Blyton.  Howard is a man who has, somewhat obsessively, devoted his Facebook page to criticizing gay sex. So of course, the GOP picked to lead the Children and Families legislative committee last session. Howard will face off against Red Lodge Republican Joanne Blyton. Blyton is a birther who actually voted for Birther Bob’s birther bill. (You can see a pdf of HB 205, the birther bill, vote here.) Yes, that’s the same bill that later made the Montana Legislature famous on CNN.  

Speaking of birthers, in Ravalli County there is a GOP primary in House District 85, between Theresa Manzella, a woman who likes birther videos on Youtube [screenshot], and Mike Jeffords of Victor.

Former judge Nels Swandal is actually running for the state legislature in Livingston’s SD 30 against Democratic candidate Mary Murphy–in spite of reports of alleged Judicial Code of Ethics violations which were reported in Montana papers across the stateduring the last election cycle. The allegations involve a fundraising letter sent out on ultra-conservative judicial candidate Laurie McKinnon’s behalf,  paid for by Laurie McKinnon’s campaign, from Nels Swandal while he was a sitting judge, which the judicial code of ethics says is not permitted.

On Swandal’s political views, the Billings Gazette reported that Swandal said that questions posed by the Montana AFL-CIO to candidates “are among the most un-American ideas I’ve ever seen,” and that he wouldn’t seek endorsement of the Montana Conservation Voters “because of their assault on private property.”

Cleve Loney

Cleve Loney

Rep. Cleve Loney (with megaphone)

Rep. Cleve Loney (with megaphone)

And from Great Falls HD 21 there is Cleve Loney, the TEA Partier who most loves to dress in tricorn garb.   Loney is running again after the voters of Great Falls booted him in the 2012 elections.

Many Republicans this election cycle are facing primary opponents– by the pro-business and jobs wing of the state party who are fed up with the economic harm and incompetence perpetrated on the state by crackpots who don’t understand how the economy works.   The Lee Newspapers did an early write up of a few of these primaries a while back. There are several additional of this type who have filed since then. We’ll let the GOP figure out who they are.

A final note: I’m hearing that the Democrats have successfully fielded a candidate in every single state legislative district, both house and senate. That’s good news in what might otherwise be a tough year. Good work by the Montana Legislative Campaign Committee and kudos to all of the democratic candidates who stepped up to run. You can see the list here.

Remember to send your tips to The Cowgirl Blog at mntnacowgirl (@) gmail.com

As a source, your identity will be protected if you desire. You can also follow the blog on Twitter @TheMT_Cowgirl

 

Laszloffy’s Losses Part 2

by Cowgirl

The Montana Family Foundation’s Jeff Laszloffy suffered a slew of losses this session, but perhaps none was felt so bitterly as his failure to get a parental consent legislative referendum on the ballot for 2014. The Family Foundation’s legislative referenda work was the organization’s major cash cow last election cycle.  Since Laszloffy failed to get the measure on the ballot for 2014, the Family Foundation’s ability to impact elections has now evaporated.

Cowgirl readers will recall that Governor Steve Bullock allowed Laszloffy’s unconstitutional bill to become law solely so that the bill can be struck down in Montana’s courts. As John Adams at The Lowdown reports, the move allows women to immediately challenge the measure in court long before an identical referenda passed by the legislature gets to the ballot in 2014.

Sure, Laszloffy knew that the measure was unconstitutional–everyone knew it. But Lazloffy’s purpose in pushing it was electoral, not policy-driven.

You see, last election cycle Laszloffy raised some $300,000–purportedly for the parental notification legislative referenda which was sent to the ballot by the 2011 legislature.    Montana Family Foundation’s Incidental Ballot Committee Reports in 2012 show they were able to raise and spend $320,000 in 2012.

In a typical year, the Family Foundation raises about $20,000 for electoral work.  But because of the LR, LR-120, they were able to raise more than 15 times that amount. You can see the reports below.

$18,000 May 8-May 24

$3,000 May 25-June 18

$2,000 June 19-July 3

$6,000 July 4 -Aug 3 

$29,000 Aug 4-Sept 3

$191,000 spent Sept 15-Oct 15

$3,000 spent Oct 16-Oct 25

$68,000 spent Oct 26-Nov 19

For one thing, this is money that could be used to supplant Family Foundation funds that had been going toward Laszloffy’s salary.  What’s also interesting is that the campaign finance reports for Laszloffy’s ballot committee  shows that some of the money he raised was leveraged to actually help the GOP’s top targeted legislative races–not just the ballot initiative.

Here’s a screenshot from his “incidental ballot committee’s” campaign report.  It reports the expenditure Lazsoffy made for a mailer that was about the ballot measure on one side, and a top tier targeted GOP race on the other.   This means that all of the polling and research Laszloffy did for these mailings was supporting the GOP’s legislative candidates too.

MT Fam Foundation hide campaign work as ballot

Thanks to Cowgirl tipsters for pointing out these fundraising anomalies. Reader tips are the essence of this blog. Send tips to mntnacowgirl (at) gmail.com

UPDATED: Dems Make Small Gain in Legislature

As of the time of this posting, with vote counts still coming in, it looks like the make-up of the Montana senate may be 21 Democratic senators to 29 Republicans in the next legislative session.   Democrats and Republicans appear to have won an equal number of the seats up for grabs, but Rs maintained an advantage in holdover senators.

During the 2011 session, there were 28 Republicans and 22 Democrats.

In the House, it looks like Democrats may pick up seven five seats, making that chamber 40 38 Democratic seats to 60 62 Republicans instead of 32-68 like the 2011 session.  This will help Governor-elect Steve Bullock sustain his 2013 vetoes.  UPDATE: As of 8:30 pm Wed evening, Dems have gained seven MT house seats. The Billings Gazette has the story.

All of the results STILL aren’t in yet, so this could change and the Dems could pick up more seats.

Here are a couple of highlights.  I’m sure there more more, please add them in the comments.

GOOD:

  • Democrats Brad Hamlett and Greg Jergeson were successful in winning tough Senate races.
  • Democrat Ed Leiser is leading Tim Baldwin.
  • Tom Jacobson appears to have taken out TEA Partier Cleve Loney.
  • Reilly Neill (D) looks to have taken out Dan Skattum in an ATP targeted race.
  • And in Butte, Ryan Lynch took back Max Yate’s house seat for the Dems.
  • Newcomer Jenny Eck was successfull in keeping her Helena house seat blue.
  • Gary Marbut lost in Missoula.

BAD:

  • Janna Taylor and Dee Brown will be back in the Senate.
  • Militia-linked Jennifer Fielder is in from Sanders County is now a state senator.
  • Nicholas Schwaderer defeated Christine Johnson for the Superior house seat that was much in the news.
  • Dog killer Roger Webb is leading Wanda Grinde in Billings for the Heights senate seat, but all the votes aren’t yet in.
  • Warburton and Hanson will be back in the house. Though given the recent Frontline expose, she might be subject to a range of penalties, including removal from office, fines, or worse.  The question is whether there is a prosecutor out there who is willing to begin looking into this stuff.
  • Liz Bangerter from Helena and Joanne Blyton from Red Lodge will be back as well.

 

The Foul 57

Republican candidates across the county have tried to distance themselves from Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who believes that rape victims should be forced to give birth and said that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

That’s been much more difficult for GOPers in Montana.

A whopping 57 candidates for the Montana legislature actually voted for an amendment to the Montana Constitution to ban abortion, under all circumstances, with no exception for rape or incest.  Sen. Debby Barrett (R-Dillon) was one of them, as democratic challenger Richard Turner of Dillan smartly points out in a mail piece (pictured).

The forced birth for rape victims amendment  cleared the house and the senate with 96 votes. All Republicans voted for it except Lila Evans.  However, because it takes a 2/3 vote of 150 legislators to amend the constitution,  the amendment failed by only four votes.

Below the fold is the list of current legislative candidates who voted in favor of forced births for victims of rape and incest.  Check it out to see if your legislator is on it–I’ve alphabetized the list by town.

Shamefully, Jonathan Windy Boy and Gene Vuckovich also made the list. To be sure, there are many more GOP candidates for legislature who share these beliefs but weren’t in the 2011 session–like Scott Sales. There are also many more Republican legislators who voted for this but aren’t up for re-election this year.

 Rick Hill, Steve Daines, and Tim Fox all support Akin’s position.  Rehberg was an early major donor to Akin.

Continue reading

Montana GOP Takes Aim at Birth Control

The birth control debate has now made its way into the Montana Legislature.  Predictably, the GOP is now trying to deny it to women.  An interim committee of the Montana legislature is trying to deny birth control to women who are state employees.

The 2011 Montana Legislature saw a record number of anti-women bills, globally. Now the target de jour seems to be female state employees.

Under current law, the decisions about what benefits state employees should receive under their insurance plans are made by an advisory committee of employees, unions, lawmakers, and health benefits experts hired by the state.   In this video, you can hear the committee staffer assuring the legislators that yes, this would give them the authority to remove:

“contraception other things that could be very controversial..like..I don’t know, health and wellness for women.”

Sen. Lewis explained the bill was perfectly appropriate because “there’s discussions of women’s health and those things” in the legislature related to Medicaid.

Here’s the video:

 

The bill passed out of interim committee, and will be up for consideration in the 2013 legislature. The current bill draft number is LCsa03.

The bill draft was supported by Joanne Blyton (R-Red Lodge), Ron Arthun (R-Wilsall), Pat Ingraham (R-Thompson Falls), and (shockingly)Larry Jent (D-Bozeman). Democrats Kathy Swanson, Bryce Bennett, and Kendall Van Dyk all voted no.

Had Jent not voted with the Republicans, the measure would have died.  Since Jent lost the primary against Steve Bullock, he seems to be making going off-shift somewhat of a habit.  Earlier this week, he appeared in a radio ad admitting that his support for an unpopular bill that gutted the voter-passed Montana Marijuana Act was intended to repeal the will of the voters.

 

Cue the Circus Music

The State Republican Party sent its team of stalwarts to Tampa for the national convention this week. Among the delegates are veritable treasure trove of politicians who have dabbled in — or fully embraced — the wacky views, hypocrisy, and nutty ideas of the 2011 legislature.  If you liked the national scrutiny last session received, you’ll love this crew.

Let’s take a look at who Montana Republicans sent to represent them on the national scene:

Joanne Blyton, birtherFirst, there is Birther Legislator Joanne Blyton of Red Lodge. Rep. Blyton  voted to support Rep. Bob Wagner’s bill in the 2011 session. Yes, that’s the same bill that later made the Montana Legislature famous on CNN.  

Then, there is state Rep. Ken Peterson of Billings.  Peterson, an attorney, made a name for himself by pointing out a loophole that still allows GOP-ers to prosecute people for being gay–even though the courts have struck down a state law saying that being gay will get you prison time.  The penalty on the books is ten years and a $5o,ooo dollar fine.

Peterson says that gays can still be prosecuted for “recruiting.” Here’s how Peterson describes how “the gay recruitment” process goes down, in his own words:

Here young man, your hormones are raging. Let’s go in this bedroom and we’ll engage in some homosexual acts.  You’ll find you’ll like it.

Next there is Tamara “Tammy” Hall of Bozeman.  Hall  is the ultra-angry, ultra right-wing radio commentator in Bozeman who  pens an occasional column for the Bozeman Chronicle and is supposedly a “motivational speaker” for a living.  Hall’s favorite topics include hating on feminists and Governor Schweitzer and loving on Chick-fil-A.

Stephen Zabawa of Billings is the anti-medical marijuana crusader who appeared in the Billings Gazette after his attempts to get in on a share of a medial marijuana business came to light.

Former state legislator Gary Perry of Manhattan will also attend.  This foot soldier in the War on Women sponsored a bill to allow insurance companies to discriminate against women in insurance pricing when he served in the legislature.  He’ll fit right in with this bunch.

 

Cyndi Baker (left) and Rep. Cleve Loney R-Great Falls (right) at a TEA Party Rally in Great FallsRep. Cleve Loney and TEA Party leader Cyndi Baker of Great Falls are there too.   The couple is pictured here.

Baker was a Great Falls City Commission candidate  who campaigned against school district spending, then turned around and sought a district paycheck.

But it’s worse then that, as the Great Falls Tribune reports, Baker tried to threaten the local government for taxpayer funded payola in the form of a position as “ombudsman” to the local TEA Party anti-government activists.   TEA Party Republican state Rep. Cleve Loney is on the left.

 

TEA Party Republican Legislator Explains His Opposition to Improving Access to Voting

The Billings Gazette reported this week that the bill by Secretary of State Linda McCulloch to allow for statewide voting by mail is advancing with bipartisan support.  But one Republican who voted against the proposal was Derek Skees (R-TEA Whitefish Kalispell).

In the House State Admin committee on January 24, Skees explained his opposition, which is transcribed below:

I’m all about getting out the vote, but I think getting out the vote is an educational component, not a easing down to the least common denominator and allowing everybody who is a procrastinator to vote. To vote is one of our sacred duties in this Republic, and it is something that those of us that consistently do it take it deadly serious.

We’ll make sure that our registration is up to date that our precinct numbers is up to date, and we’ll make sure that the county has our addresses up to date.

We’ll follow the issue, go to every single one of the forums and we’ll vet our candidates and have a really good decision before the primary and before the general elections.

Those are the people who should vote. We should educate everybody to think and behave that way because it is such an august responsibility for us to do it.  All we’re doing is dropping it down to people who vote on one issue, and they are not fully informed on other issues.

And we’re making it easier for the less informed to vote. I would like to improve the less informed, but I think we should do it through education, not by dumbing down the electoral process. With that in mind, I intend to vote against this bill.

Mr. Skees, I hate to break it to you, but uninformed voters are the very folks who put you in office.

Other Republicans who voted against the bill include:  Reps. Gerald Bennett of Libby; Joanne Blyton of Joliet; Dan Kennedy of Laurel; James Knox of Billings (by proxy); and Tom McGillvray of Billings.