Most lost last night by wide margins. But two TEA Partiers won democratic primaries by deceiving the voters and will move on to the general to run in slots that the voters intended to be filled by democrats.
In Cascade County, fake Democrat David Brownell, who has run for office as a Republican in the past, beat bona fide democrat Joan Graham for state senate District 9. Brownell also frequently attended Teton County GOP meetings. Terry Caldwell also beat real democrat Lloyd Wilkins. Caldwell told the Great Falls Tribune that he couldn’t name a single democratic issue he planned to campaign on nor a single issue on the democratic platform he supported.
Both face incumbent GOPers in the general. Brownell faces Llew Jones in the general. Caldwell will face Nicholas Schwaderer.
Meanwhile in Gallatin County the plot was a giant flop.
Tom Woods beat Dane Peeples, a Bozeman area militia member with a criminal record. Harry Pennington and Laura Springer, two homeless people who registered using Peeples’ address and credit card, have dropped out. Denise Hayman won over TEA Partier Hollenback, whose husband is a GOP precient chair and is a plaintiff in a GOP lawsuit to bar Montana from accepting federal funds for health coverage for the working poor. April Buonamici beat right-wing libertarian Mike Comstock. Comstock is a one-world government conspiracy theorist who believes the muppets are part of a socialist plot.
In a little over a month, legislators from across Montana will descend on Helena to make the laws you must live by. Let’s meet them.
1-Rep. David Howard (R-TEA Park City), Chair of the House Human Services Committee. Rep. Howard is on the record saying he believes a Civil War is imminent
2-A FRONTLINE documentary reported that documents found in a meth house indicate potentially illegal collusion between a secretive right-wing group and Republican candidates. Files onDan Kennedy, Wendy Warburton, Mike Miller, Ed Butcher, Bob Wagner, Joel Boniek, Jerry O’Neil and Derek Skees were found so far.
5-Then there is the GOP legislator who when called by the press about a former UM student who accused him of sexual assault, handed the phone to his mom. Rep. Nicolas Schwaderer (R-MissoulaMineral) denies the allegations. He has also threatened a defamation suit against anybody making “slanderous statements” against him. It is not known at this time whether mom will be coming to Helena with Rep. Schwaderer.
6-Rep. Jerry O’Neil (R-TEA Columbia Falls) demanded to be paid for his legislative acts in gold and silver. O’Neil has been ridiculed for his request in the national press. But recall that last session, half of the House of Representatives voted for Wagner’s bill to require the state of Montana to conduct all business in gold and silver. This includes current GOP Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel and Republican House Majority Leader Gordon Vance and many, many others who are back this session.
7-And let’s not forget Rep. Wendy Warburton and Rep. Kris Hansen (both of Havre) who co-hosted an event with former Gov. Judy Martz to tell Montanans that the War on Women is made up.Warburton has an explanation for the lack of GOP women candidates. She said a couple of years back, that “the biggest reason that more women who are Republicans don’t get into politics is because we are the pro-family party.” Yes ladies, GOP women are home raising kids like the women of the pro-family party should be.
According to the school’s website, Rep. Laszloffy and her fellow students learned how to “live the Bible,” —including useful skills such as “how to cast out demons” and other practical solutions to life’s most pressing problems. Bethel’s members also purport to have the ability to heal people through prayer and bring the dead back to life.
Perhaps the ability to bring people back from the dead will be useful. Former legislator turned Public Service Commissioner Roger Koopman threatened that if his fellow GOP legislators didn’t stop criticizing him, “Republican blood will flow in the streets.”
10-The outgoing GOP House Majority Leader, Tom McGillvray (R-TEA Billings). McGillvary tweeted (from his official Twitter account) that President Obama must release his college records so as to prove that he was not a “foreign exchange student” while he studied at Columbia and Harvard. McGillvray is termed out and his term will end this month.
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.
Democrats Brad Hamlett and Greg Jergeson were successful in winning tough Senate races.
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.
Hides from reporter, and has his mother answer the tough questions
A former University of Montana student has come forward to say that she was sexually assaulted four years ago, when she was a student, by Nicholas Schwaderer, who is now a GOP candidate for the Montana state legislature. The accuser, Laura Williams, says she had thirteen drinks on her birthday and was sexually assaulted in her drunken semi-conscious state.
Schwaderer denies the allegations and notes that the police conducted an investigation and that no charges were filed. He has also threatened a defamation suit against anybody making “slanderous statements” against him.
It’s a little murky, from today’s explosive Missoulian story, whether the University or the DA’s office ever fully or sufficiently conducted an investigation into the woman’s allegations. Also unclear is what type of physical evidence exists. The woman seems to imply there is, or was, documentation of bruises and other injuries, but the article refers specifically only to a bloody nose, that Schwaderer says occurred when they accidentally butted heads during a consensual encounter. No charges were ever filed by prosecutors and the Missoula DA Fred Van Valkenberg says the case wasn’t charged because it “lacked proof.” This should concern us because assaults often occur without leaving a physical trace. Sometimes, the victim’s testimony is all we have.
Also, the woman says that she approached Will Deschamps, the Montana GOP chair, telling him that that Schwaderer was bad news and should be discouraged from running. Deschamp basically told her to scram.
The last thing UM needs right now is a rape allegation that was not taken as seriously and professionally as possible by the University administration. But it seems, at a minimum, that the Dean of Students looked into the matter and found enough to suspend the student registration of Schwaderer. Right now, the Dean of Students will not comment on the case because it involves private sexual and medical affairs of a former student. But the student herself seems to be waiving that privilege, so perhaps more facts will come to light in the future.
Also, while Schwaderer is entitled to the presumption of innocence here, there is one thing that we have all learned definitively about him from reading the Missoulian piece: Schwaderer, as a candidate, is not yet ready for prime time. As the article recounts, when the Missoulian reporter called Schwaderer to get his response to these allegations, he handed the phone to his mother to respond on his behalf. She, in turn, had a lawyer send an email to a reporter.
When legislators cast votes, they are not allowed to have their mother with them in the chamber to help them out, nor their lawyers, nor their guardian angel, nor their favorite teddy bear. The legislature is for adults. And while it’s fine to live with your mom, you can’t have her stand in for you when a reporter calls to ask you whether or not you sexually assaulted somebody. Nor can you have your lawyer answer. You are running for office. You must directly answer these questions.
So perhaps Schwaderer should be looking for a different line of work, something other than politics.
As for his background and qualifications for office, Schwaderer lists among his previous jobs a stint at the Montana Policy Institute, where he says he “learned how to scrutinize policy.” For those of you that are not familiar with the MPI, it is a right-wing think tank based in Bozeman that publishes the Montana Watchdog. As to his philosophical beliefs, he says in an audio statement on his campaign website that he believes that “in a truly free society, the government will not be the avenue of first resort for problems that can be solved by family, friendship and community.”
And, a tipster informed me today that Schwaderer has been an active comment blogger on the Missoulian blog called Missoula Red Tape.
And here is an excerpt of a comment he recently blogged, in a discussion about HIV and discrimination against lesbians and gays:
I’m a “closet libertarian”, so you can guess where I personally stand on the issue. That said I don’t see the relevance of “debating” the origins of HIV, how clean a colon is or where we’re intended to have sex.
That said, I’ve seen some pretty scary vaginas.. And as for “intended to have sex”- even us straight blokes won’t object to the occasional blowy, yeah?
By “blowy” I assume he means blowjob.
Well, he’s gonna get another kind of blowied: blowied out, as in, he’s gonna get his ass kicked in his race for the legislature. My guess is that the GOP will not spend a dime on him, and that the Dems, consequently, will pick up a seat that would usually go Republican.