The big news today is that Max Baucus is Obama’s choice for ambassador to China.
…only to discover that the pain in his ass was due to the fact that the entire 2012 election had been shoved up it.
Rove came up empty, in Presidential and Congressional races.
Here in Montana, Denny Rehberg has been sent packing by Jon Tester, in an enormous victory, a virtual landslide. Tester blew him out. Libertarian candidate Dan Cox got almost seven percent, one of the biggest takes by a third party candidate since Ross Perot got in the mid-twenties in 1992.
We should all be proud of what Tester did. The polls showed him neck and neck going into the last days, but he got his vote out and closed big. And he overcame an absolute monsoon of negative ads lasting three months, one of the biggest smears ever recorded on Montana’s airwaves, funded by Washington DC Republicans and Karl Rove’s group Crossroads GPS. He dumped tens of millions into the race (and even paid a visit to Montana, to help Rehberg with strategy), all of it impugning Tester for having had the temerity to support his President. And the beauty is, it doesn’t really look like the attack worked at all. Tester cruised to victory. What mattered more to voters was that Tester turns in a workday, doesn’t whine or complain, doesn’t spend his days smearing people or blaming people, but tries accomplish something.
Same for Obama, the object of vitriolic GOP hatred, who demolished the weak Mitt Romney in spectacular fashion, defeating yet another empty, negative campaign by the Republicans. Poor Rove, whose group spent half a billion dollars and got zilch in return. Dems have actually picked up a seat in the United States Senate, and Rove had the dubious task on FOXNews last night of trying to convince the public that while every network and news outlet was projecting Obama the winner, they were, according to Rove, doing so in error. He had secret math, you see, that showed Romney was, in fact, still going to win. What happened in Montana and nationally, well, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy than Karl Rove.
Dennis Rehberg, meanwhile, concludes 12 years of federal service and many more years of state government service, and the Cowgirl blog recognizes this contribution to society. Though we rarely agree with Rehberg and have always advocated against him, anybody stepping up to run for or hold public office deserves recognition and congratulations upon the completion of a career, as do his many staffers and operatives who spent the last two years in this fight. We wish Denny and his crew well in his future endeavors. Perhaps we will even see him try again two years from now for the Senate or even four years from now for governor, or maybe even try to take his seat back if Steve Daines vacates his newly won House seat to try to move up to Senate.
Speaking of Governor, Lee Newspapers, CNN, and NBC have called the race for Bullock, and now AP has as well. Down three points heading into the weekend according to a Mason Dixon poll, Bullock came up strong last night. Votes are still outstanding in Yellowstone County and also in a few key Indian countries like Glacier and Bighorn. But Bullock is showing about a 2 point edge right now, and I don’t believe it will be eroded much by the balance of votes yet to be counted. He will be our next Governor. Keep the cellphone tight, Steve, for Rick Hill will be calling you shortly to congratulate you and concede the race.
Hill, like Rehberg, deserves credit for trying a comeback late in life. He came up short, and has now probably concluded his political career, but he put in a tough effort and should be congratulated on having waged a pretty close race
Pam Bucy and Kim Gillan fought the good fight, but were up against two guys who had run for statewide office before, and so these two impressive gals started out at a disadvantage. Expect to see both of them remain in the orbit of public service. Either or both would be excellent applicants for Bullock cabinet positions and Bucy, I believe, will be back again to run for something else.
Daines got a huge investment from the national Republican party, so that made life miserable for Gillan who could not pull in the same dough from her party and was running for an office that seems to have the word Republican posted on the door. It was an uphill battle from the get-go. But Bucy, a far superior candidate to her opponent, got shafted. Our new attorney general Tim Fox has achieved his office by being bankrolled by secret money, close to a million dollars worth, the source of which has still not been determined. Bucy had no such slush fund. When you tally up the money, Bucy got outspent 5-1 at least. It puts a cap on a sad chapter in Montana electoral history, in which Republicans attempted to take over the government with unlimited, secret corporate money. Poor Pam became the object of the corporate wrath, despite an impeccable resume that made her opponent look like a bum.
In other races, Juneau, Lindeen and McCulloch all have leads right now, but Juneau’s race will be tight. She’s up half a point, with Billings and Indian country yet to be reported. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for her.
We should be proud of all these candidates. And, I am proud of all of you, who have participated in this election by tuning in, for keeping the discussion alive and spirited, providing information, and for making Cowgirl blog the place for politics in Montana.
Montana’s 2012 elections will go down in history–but not in a good way. Rather, this cycle will be remembered for corruption, lies, deceptive ads, illegal donations, apparent illegal coordination with third-party groups, and secret corporate money.
The season was kicked off with TEA Party Republican legislator Jason Priest secretive “Montana Growth Network” buying the Supreme Court race for TEA Party judge Laurie McKinnon. Priest’s shadow group spent more on one saturation mailing then the conservative candidate he was backing had raised for her entire campaign.
McKinnon, who dog whistled at Lincoln Reagan dinners across Montana about “judicial activism,” “strict constructionist” and other conservative buzzwords, was able to defeat the leading candidate Elizabeth Best in the primary–in spite of reports of alleged Judicial Code of Ethics violations reported in Montana papers across the state. Priest’s “Montana Growth Network” is thought to be one of the American Traditions Partnership’s many spinoffs.
Indeed no group has been more insidious than American Traditions Partnership in corrupting Montana’s elections. ATP’s launched it’s biggest attack on Steve Bullock. It mailed a fake newspaper to hundreds of thousands of Montanans depicting Bullock in a line-up of sex offenders.
In a brilliant piece of investigative journalism, the PBS show Frontline has revealed the seedy underbelly of secret money in Montana’s elections, with a full-hour expose of Montana politics and this secretive right-wing group. Under state law, third party groups, the ones like American Tradition Partnership which spend masses of unregulated, unreported money, are legally barred from coordinating with candidates. But several legislative candidates and the ATP have been caught red handed, working together, in apparent violation of the law, the Associated Press reports today.
ATP even sent mailers impersonating unions– using the unions’ logos–to attack local candidates that the unions have actually endorsed.
ATP wasn’t alone, unknown corporate groups dumped half a million dollars in illegal into Rick Hill’s campaign coffers, forcing a judge to issue a restraining order against Hill to stop him from spending the illegal cash. The Montana GOP claims the donation came from the Republican Governor’s Association, but shortly before the RGA sent the dough to the Montana GOP, that an entity calling itself the ”Montana Law Foundation” sent $200,000 the the RGA. There’s only one reason that a fake Montana group would donate to the RGA instead of the Montana Republican Party and that’s to hide the donation’s source.
Tim Fox, the Montana Republican lunatic who is running for attorney general despite having never done anything other than defend drunk drivers and call for rape victims to have the rapists’ babies, got some national Republican donors to buy $700,000 of TV advertising on his behalf. Fox Fox refused to reveal his true extremists beliefs. Instead, he hid behind the hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising that his corporate bosses– including the Koch brothers, the insurance industry and the cigarette companies put up to hide the truth.
Montana’s U.S. Senate race has also drawn a deluge of dark money aimed at defeating Jon Tester and replacing him with scandal-plagued extremist Dennis Rehberg.
Tonight, Montana citizens will find out whether ATP and groups like it will completely own our state and federal governments–using lies, deception, illegal activity and corporate money to install their candidates into office, from a P.O. Box, without ever revealing who their donors really are.
In the can-too, can-not keep-the-cash debate, Democrat candidate for Attorney General Pam Bucy wins for integrity. She did the right thing by returning $35,000 donated by her party during the 6-day, campaign contribution free-for-all before the 9th Circuit Court called it off.
At first, her opponent, Republican Tim Fox, kept the $32,000 he received during this window. And, his campaign was quick to call Bucy’s ethical behavior a “desperate political stunt.” Since when is acting ethically a “desperate political stunt?” And what does it say about the character of someone who’d call ethical behavior a “desperate political stunt?”
Fox eventually gave back his money too, after seeing the political hot water Republican candidate for Governor Rick Hill was in for keeping the $500,000 he received. What is the Fox flip-flop but a “desperate political stunt?”
Key qualities of an Attorney General are ethics, integrity and fairness. Steve Bullock has excelled at these. Pam Bucy has shown she will do the same. Please vote for Pam Bucy for Attorney General and Steve Bullock for Governor.
GOP attorney general candidate Tim Fox has return $32,000 in illegal campaign contribution, the Associated Press reports. Fox returned the cash after the Pam Bucy for Attorney General Campaign filed a lawsuit to stop Fox from spending the illegal contributions and return the illegal cash.
This lawsuit follows on the heels of a ruling from a District Court judge yesterday that issued a restraining order, preventing Congressman Rick Hill from spending any more of the illegal funds he’s taken and canceling any advertisements he already placed with those dollars.
And so, with her lawsuit, Bucy has initiated a key development in the the gubernatorial race. That’s because if Fox understands the donations are legal, why is it that Hill, who attended law school “online,” is still fighting to keep and spend his illegal donations.
In his most recent campaign finance report filed by Fox, he revealed he had taken a contribution of $32,000 from the Montana Republican Party–well in excess of the legal contribution limits laid out in Montana law. The origins of this contribution are still unknown.
In addition to the contribution from the MT GOP, Fox also received 12 other illegal contributions, ranging in size from $60 to $5000 over the legal contribution limits in the state.
Under Montana Code Annotated 13-37-216, a candidate for Attorney General may take no more than $310 in aggregate from an individual and $8150 in aggregate from a political party, per contested election.