Tag Archives: Ted Washburn

Cowgirl Blog Primary Election Predictions

Here are my predictions for the most important races in the primary, the state legislative races.

While some bloggers have chosen to focus on the races that Lee Newspapers once deemed important, the real question on everyone’s mind is who will prevail tomorrow night- the TEA Party extremists or the main street republicans. Nowhere is this battle for the GOP hotter than where incumbents face challengers – from the left and from the right.

These are among the key bellwether races to watch tomorrow night.

Certainly I’ll also be watching what happens with the TEA Party’s fake Trojan horse dems, and what happens in primaries with MT Family Foundation recruits like Debra Lamm in Livingston, Marissa Stockton in East Helena, and Ronalee Skees vs. Frank Garner is the Flathead. The Flathead has several interesting legislative races to watch actually.

The Missoula County Sheriff’s race, where two fake democrats are running against T.J. McDermott, is important.  Tim Ravndal is running for County Commissioner in Broadwater County, which is frightening.  Another race to watch for those seeking to take the TEA Party’s pulse is the Gallatin County Commission race, where Don Seifert faces TEA Partier Barb Blum (backed by Roger Koopman).

Let me know if you agree or disagree and what other races you’re watching in the comments.

House   
HD 17 Rep. Christi Clark of Choteau vs. TEA Parter Jim Anderson. Anderson is the TEA Partier who hijacked the Teton County Republican Party’s annual shrimp peel fundraiser for the TEA Party. Local Republicans are not pleased. Prediction: ClarkScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 18 Rep. Rob Cook of Conrad vs. endorsed TEA Partier Ann MorrenPrediction: CookScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 19 Rep. Roger Hagan of Great Falls vs. TEA Partier Randy Pinocci, who is backed by Gary Marbut. Prediction: HaganScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 27 Rep. Roy Hollandsworth of Brady vs. right winger Darrold HutchinsonPrediction: HollandsworthScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 30 Rep. Ryan Osmundson of Buffalo/vs. Right-winger and 86-year-old Jim PaughPrediction: OsmundsonScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 40 Rep. Tom Berry vs. TEA Party winger Ray Gorman. Prediction: BerryScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 53 TEA Party wingut Rep. Sarah Laszloffy, age 20 of Laurel, who attended a school which teaches you how to bring people back from the dead.  No Joke.  TEApublican Rep. Sarah Laszloffy is an alum of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. (She’s also the daughter of MT Family Foundation wackjob Jeff Laszloffy) vs. former long-time legislator Mark Noennig, well respected by the business community. Prediction: Toss-up.  Noennig can win this and voters would be much better represented by him, but papa bear Laszloffy is likely to pull out all the stops to keep his pawn daughter in office.Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 71 In Madison County, Rep. Ray Shaw vs. Birther Bob Wagner, a former Representative infamous for losing economic development for his district and making an ass of himself on national television. Voters already ousted Wagner in favor of Shaw once. Prediction: ShawScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 72 Rep. Jeff Wellborn of Dillan vs. TEA Party college Republican Brooke ErbPrediction: WellbornScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 80 Rep. Mike Miller vs. Patrick Johnson/Ron Vandevendor. Prediction: Miller, since not enough Montanans will have heard of his political practices shennanigans.  Miller is being challenged from the left by Patrick Johnson. If Miller is elected, the primary election won’t actually decided the final outcome, because Miller faces being thrown off the ballot for political practices violations. So does Art Wittich, and so do others.Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 92 David “Doc” Moore of Missoula vs. Larry Dunham Prediction: MooreScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 93 Rep. Dan Salomon of Ronan vs. challenger Frank Delgado. Frank Delgado is a responsible Main Street republican challenging GOPer Salomon from the left in a seat the dems will likely take back in November. Prediction: SalomonScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
HD 99 Rep. Ed Greef of Stevensville faces pro-business, pro-economic development non-nutjob Russ Vogel.  Prediction: GreefScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM

 

Senate  
SD 4 Former Kalispell Mayor Tammy Fisher vs. Rep.  Mark Blasdel of Kalispell. The race is hotly contested. Prediction:  Blasdel is an inferior pick and a right-winger and Fisher is a pro-business Republican, but the power of incumbency is strong. Blasdel has raised more money. This is an open seat.  However, Blasdel was an extreme right legislative leader in the house last session, and faces a primary from the more rational wing of the party. Would love to be wrong on this one.Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
SD 9 Sen. Llew Jones/vs. TEA Party tax dodger Joe Large in Toole, Pondera and Glacier Counties. Prediction: JonesScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
SD 14 Anti-education lobbyist Rep. Kris Hansen of Havre is now running for Senate against Carl Mattson of Chester.   Mattson is the superior candidate.  He doesn’t favor using your tax dollars to subsidize private sectarian schools.  Hansen has been paid to promote that terrible idea. Prediction:  HansenScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
SD 20 Rep. Duane Ankney (east of Billings) vs. TEA Party booster clubber Barry Usher  of Colstrip Prediction: AnkneyScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
SD 29 Right-winger birther Rep. Joanne Blyton of Red Lodge vs. Ultra nutjob and imbecile extraordinaire Rep. David Howard. 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.   Prediction: Tossup.  This is also an open seat, but is included here because both Blyton and Howard served in the House.Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
SD 34 Rep. Gordon Vance vs. Rep. Ted Washburn both of Bozeman. One of the most bloody GOP primary battles of the year.  Gordon Vance is the TEA Party nutjob who vote to conduct all state business in gold.  Vance and is trying to brutally attack paint Washburn as a liberal and RINO.  Problem is, Washburn is anything but. Washburn is under investigation for having been caught up in the Meth House Scandal, in which documents found at a meth house in Colorado were found to implicate certain GOP lawmakers for illegally coordinating with a dark money group, the American Tradition Partnership.  Washburn also is the author of the famous bill to legalize hunting with silencers.  It made the venerated2011 Montana Nutjob Bills list first published at Cowgirl Blog, and Washburn brought back the bill in 2013.   Washburn has also called for what is essentially a poll tax, a bill that would allow only taxpayers to vote (poor people often don’t have a taxable income, nor, for that matter, do many farmers and ranchers).  And he has often been the lead sponsor of bills that would make it more difficult for people to register to vote, especially if those people are likely to be democrats. Prediction: TossupScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
SD 43 Sen. Scott Boulanger of Darby (appointed, not elected)  vs. Rep. Pat Connell.Sen. Scott Boulanger R-Darby loves being pictured with the  infamous bullet-ridden Obama outhouse.  He’s running in a GOP primary against Rep. Pat Connell. Boulanger was one of ten Republicans who actually voted to take freedoms away from Montanans by keeping being gay an imprisonable offense in Montana.     Voters in the area have already picked Pat Connell over Boulanger once before, when Boulanger ran for house in 2012. Boulanger lost, and the only reason he’s in office now is because he was appointed by the Ravalli County Republican Central Committee after another legislator was elected to the Public Service Commission. Prediction: ConnellScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM
 SD 27  Another open seat where a right winger from the House faces a pro-business wing challenger.  TEA Partier Cary Smith of Billings faces former legislator and dentist Don Roberts.  Prediction: TossupScreen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.05.58 AM

The Montana GOP Hypocrite of the Week Award Goes to….

Matthew Monforton—GOP legislative candidate Matthew Monforton.  Since Monforton wrote a letter to the editor in the Bozeman Chronicle this week denigrating the elected body he himself is seeking to join as a “parliament of whores,” he is clearly is this week’s winner.

If the GOP-TEA controlled legislature is full of  people he calls “whores,” why does Monforton want to be part of it?

Monforton waxes apoplectic against the “whores” elected by the Montana Republican Party in this letter, yet has he accepted the Republican Party’s cash Continue reading

Major Tea Party Rumble scheduled in Bozeman

Hunting with Silencers v. General Nutjob

A wild GOP primary will soon be underway in Bozeman, where two Tea Party hotheads are going to tangle for a state house seat in a very conservative district.  This will be a heavyweight bout.

The challenger is Matthew Monforton, who lost his job as a city judge.  Monforton made waves for a public remark that the prophet Mohammed was “a seventh-century pedophile.”  Monforton later defended Rick Hill in court, when Hill was on the ropes for having accepted an illegal contribution of $500,000.  He also represented Harris Himes, the Montana pastor who said gays should be given the death penalty (and who got busted for defrauding a member of his congregation, and is now in the pokey.)  All of which means that Monforton would fit in perfectly as a Republican legislator.

Washburn, meanwhile, is under investigation for having been caught up in the Meth House Scandal, in which documents found at a meth house in Colorado were found to implicate certain GOP lawmakers for illegally coordinating with a dark money group, the American Tradition Partnership.  Washburn also is the author of the famous bill to legalize hunting with silencers.  It made the venerated 2011 Montana Nutjob Bills list first published at Cowgirl Blog, and Washburn brought back the bill in 2013.   Washburn has also called for what is essentially a poll tax, a bill that would allow only taxpayers to vote (poor people often don’t have a taxable income, nor, for that matter, do many farmers and ranchers).  And he has often been the lead sponsor of bills that would make it more difficult for people to register to vote, especially if those people are likely to be democrats.

The race has already turned nasty, in a very comic way.  Monforton this week filed a lawsuit in federal court, with the help of the prominent conservative attorney James Bopp, of Citizens United fame.  The suit asks the court to please strike down a Montana statute which requires that candidates cite bill numbers when running ads that criticize their opponents for votes they’ve taken.  The brief argues that Monforton expects to be irreparably harmed by the statute.   Why? Here is an excerpt from the brief:

Candidate Monforton intends to mail letters to voters in House District 69, which encompasses the northern part of Gallatin County. These letters will contrast Candidate Monforton’s steadfast opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” and Rep. Washburn’s votes in the House in support of Obamacare.

Candidate Monforton has also rented a billboard facing westbound traffic on I-90 just west of Belgrade to convey the same message as the letters. His billboard advertisement will be posted beginning on February 26, 2014. Rep. Washburn opposed Obamacare in the 2011 session of the Legislature by voting against establishing a state-based exchange but later cast several votes in favor of Obamacare in the 2013 session…

Disclosing all of Rep. Washburn’s flip-flops would require Candidate Monforton to include in his letter at least one or two extra pages explaining each of Rep. Washburn’s conflicting votes, thereby distracting voters from other messages Candidate Monforton intends to include in his letters and forcing Candidate Monforton to spend more money on producing and mailing the letter than he otherwise would.

It goes on and on like this for 18 pages.   In other words,  Monforton is suing to invalidate a state law, and his brief in court is devoted mostly to talking about how this law is making it so terribly (and unconstitutionally) difficult for him to discuss how his opponent voted for Obamacare.  How, the brief asks the court, is Monforton going to have enough space on his mailers and billboards to list all of the terrible Obamacare votes that his GOP opponent took?  Hah! I encourage you to read the whole thing.  It’s a total scream.

As for the bills that Monforton claims Washburn flip-flopped on, one the republican “alternative” to the Medicaid Expansion bills, a bill that probably violated federal law designed to help the GOP quash the expansion altogether–another was a bill brought by the insurance industry to require state training for the “navigators” who help people pick an insurance plan–the bill was designed in part to keep the job of helping people buy insurance largely with insurance agents, who have experience and knowledge with Montana law. It is not a bill to support Obamacare, it is a bill to mitigate its effects.

Washburn also took procedural committee votes, floor votes and votes on amendments, which Monforton is arguing are flip flops because sometimes Washburn’s votes were pro, sometimes anti, depending on the GOP strategery at the time.  Expect Monforton’s theory to be duplicated in other primaries throughout the state.

Monforton has a problem of his own, which Washburn is no doubt planning to discuss.  He spent most of his adult life in Los Angeles, a place that Bozeman GOP voters believe to be Hell itself.   And he left under nebulous circumstances after supposedly filing a whistleblower report against his boss at the LA district attorney’s office.

Reforming Gun Laws, Montana Republican Style

by Cowgirl

It might surprise you to hear this, but right-wing Republicans actually agree with President Obama that America needs a radical change in our gun laws.  It’s just that they have a different idea of what those changes should be.

In the Montana Legislature this month, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy and a scourge of national gun violence, Montana Republicans have moved quickly to introduce a series of bills to deal with what they believe is society’s most pressing gun problem: it’s not easy enough to shoot someone.

There are dozens of proposals, each one stupider and sillier and more childish than the next. Here are few of my favorites:

First is a bill to change our concealed weapons laws. In Montana, concealed weapons may not be carried in churches, schools, banks, bars, colleges, hospitals and a few other specified areas.  Republicans have proposed a bill to eliminate these restrictions completely.

The author of the bill, House Bill 304, is none other than the state chair of the House Judiciary Committee.  A police officer showed up to a hearing to testify against it, saying he’d “never seen a bar fight that ended well with a concealed weapon.” The Republicans were unfazed by this testimony and are moving forward with the legislation. There’s also a companion bill, House Bill 384, that specifically addresses the injustice suffered by high school students who are denied the right to bring rifles and shotguns onto school grounds. The bill would forbid school officials from punishing such students.

Keep in mind that these are the same lawmakers who proposed Senate Bill 279 which was a bill to allow legislators to carry guns–both concealed and open–in the state capitol building last session.  Apparently they think that this will make the capitol a safer place.  I’m sure the many government employees who work in the Capitol will feel secure in knowing that a few crusty old Republican men–who start drinking at 10 am and spend the rest of the day snoozing at hearings or ogling high school pages–will serve as a security force in the event the building is attacked.

And if you think Republicans do not believe in guaranteed access to healthcare, think again.  A few GOP legislators have just introduced House Bill 459, a bill to guarantee the provision of medical care–to anyone who is armed.  The bill makes it a felony to deny someone health care if the denial is based in any way on the fact that the person is in possession of a weapon, and refuses to answer the doctor’s question about said possession.  Said another way, this bill ensures that you can bring a weapon to your doctors office, and the doctor may not ask you to leave the premises if you refuse to answer the doctor when you are asked “is that bulge under you clothing a concealed weapon?” It also forbids pediatricians from asking other questions about guns that they routinely ask, about whether the parent owns weapons and, if so, whether the parent is safely storing them in the house, out of reach of the child.

These legislators should themselves seek out a pediatrician, because they are overgrown children who somehow became legislators.

There are many more such bills, including:

HB 302 by Rep. Krayton Kerns would prohibit state enforcement of any federal ban on semi-auto firearms/magazines

 HB 215 by Rep. Edward Greef declares the Winchester rifle “The gun that won the west.”

HJ 5 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil amends the U.S. Constitution to prevent President from entering into any arms treaties that infringe on gun rights.

LC1639 by Rep. Scott Reichner would prevent local governments from restricting firearms.

HB 27 by Rep. Ted Washburn would allow the use of silencers when hunting “large predators,” while

HB 205 by Krayton Kerns would eliminate the prohibition on firearm sound reduction devices in the field altogether.

HB 240 by Rep. Cary Smith seeks to allow guns on college campuses.

HB 468 by Rep. Alan Doane would encourage manufacture of ammunition in Montana to ensure availability.

HJ 3 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil calls for an amendment to the US Constitution which “gives the states the right to make whatever guns they want so long as [firearms] stay inside the[sic] own borders.”

SB 304 by Rep. Roger Webb would establish a “firearm protection act.”

HB 292 by Rep. Randy Brodehl would revise laws related to pawn shop stolen gun procedures

 

Legislative Roundup

Roger Koopman Should Not Be In Charge of Taxi Cabs

Rep. Ellie Hill of Missoula has proposed deregulation–not of energy, but of taxicabs.  Little did anyone know that the Public Service Commission is the branch of government that regulates taxis in Montana.  That is ludicrous.  If you’ve ever tried to get a cab in Missoula, you will know that Ms. Hill is on the right track here.  There is a government-granted monopoly in the city, and that needs to change.  Hill is trying to move authority over cab regulation from the PSC to the Montana Legislature.  After all, can anybody, Republican or Democrat, say that it’s a good thing that Roger Koopman is in charge of taxis?  The bill is LC1416.

 

GOP Voter Suppression Bill

The Repubs have wasted no time in trying to revive their bread-and-butter, old faithful favorite piece of legislation.  Representative Ted Washburn of Bozeman has introduced a bill (HB 30) to do away with election day registration. If Washburn were from Billings, he’d not be sponsoring this bill.  Voters waited on line several hours to vote in Billings in 2012, and if there had been no voting-day registration option, many would have been turned away after the long wait, even though they were lawfully qualified to vote.

Thankfully, Schweitzer vetoed the bill in 2011 and Bullock will almost certainly do so as well.  Funny enough, the GOP does not believe this type of shenanigans has any political repercussions, that you can brazenly make a legislative move to take away voters’ rights and voters won’t notice. But I think they do notice, and Democrats will remind them in 2014.  In fact, in 2014, Democratic volunteers should be walking the line of voters, explaining to the people waiting on the infernal line that the reason they have to wait so long, and waste half a day, is that the GOP likes it that way.

Although it’s not in the bill, Washburn told the committee he believes voting should be restricted to “driver’s license, the person that pays taxes in Montana, the person that actually resides here in Montana,” Chuck Johnson reported.  Meaning if he had his way, many seniors, students, the disabled, and the very poor would not get to vote.

 

The Ruling Class

Washburn wants to restrict voting to taxpaying residents, but another GOP legislator wants to expand voting to non-residents–non-resident property owners, that is.  Rep. Terry Murphy’s bill (SB 130) would let non-residents vote in municipal elections, including mill-levies, bonds, and candidates.

The Flathead County Commission tried a similar scheme in 2011 to decide who will control zoning in the outskirts of the city of Whitefish – the city, or the county with an “official survey.”  They sent surveys to all those who owned property in the area–some of whom didn’t actually reside in the area at all. Some people got multiple votes depending on how many properties they owned. If you resided in the area, but didn’t make enough to own property, well, you weren’t allowed to voice your opinion.  According to a citizens group who analyzed the survey results, “less than half, 47%, of the survey cards mailed out went to people who actually live in the two-mile area around Whitefish, while another 53% went to people who don’t even live in Whitefish.”

 

“Immigration Sanctuaries”

Speaking of stupid bills, the GOP has also revived the “immigration sanctuary bill” from 2011.  An immigration sanctuary, as best I can tell, is a state of affairs in which a local government refuses to order its policemen to go hunt for dark-skinned people and ask to see their passports.   This bill was vetoed last session and will be no doubt vetoed again as is it is utterly ridiculous.  HB 50 is sponsored by David Howard (R-Park City).

 

Many Novice Legislators

Chuck Johnson has an interesting piece about a tough fact: lots of newbies in the Montana Legislature.  Term limits have created a rookie majority, and several observations made in the Johnson piece are worthy of discussion and perhaps demand a re-examination of term limits.  A few of the points struck me as intriguing: that the legislative branch of government is weakened by a lack of institutional knowledge that once resided in veteran legislators; that the executive has been strengthened, because legislators must rely on executive-branch bureaucrats for policy expertise; and that reliance on lobbyists for legislative expertise has become excessive.   One wonders, looking back, whether Schweitzer’s successful bullying of the legislature was made easier by a weakening of the House and Senate by term limits, which eliminate veterans.

 

Reduce Size of House and Senate

Republican Jason Priest of Red Lodge has put in a bill to shrink the Montana legislature to 40 and 80 members, Senate and House respectively.   I don’t know what to make of this, although one can assume that if a right-wing Republican is introducing such a measure, it probably disadvantages Democrats in some way.  But here’s another idea:  How about a unicameral legislature, like Nebraska?  Actually, Nebraska has no party affiliation for members.   How’s that sound? 100 legislators, one house, all independents by law.