MT House 2014: Records Check

The long wait in Montana is over – according to Lee Newspapers Republican U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke released “all of his Navy personnel evaluations” yesterday.

I won’t go as far as say “all” but there are quite a few.

Here at The Western Word I received a press release from the Zinke campaign with a link to the records last night at 9:17 p.m., which was over an hour after Lee Newspapers and over 30 minutes after the Associated Press had published their stories.

It’s a typical tactic from politicians and their communications people to try to generate the friendliest stories first to set the mood or to drive the story. The information is released to the ‘friendly” reporters or to the reporters who have no idea about the subject first. Sadly, my Beagle probably has about the same amount of military experience as most reporters covering military/veterans issues in Montana.

I’ve glanced through the documents I received and the following caught my attention. This is from a November 1, 1998 to June 15, 1999 report:

Declining performance marks in Military Bearing and Leadership are due to lapses in judgment in executing his TAD itinerary on two occasions. I am confident that he now understands his responsibility in setting an example that is beyond reproach.

TAD stands for Temporary Additional Duty.

His military bearing took a hit from those mistakes as they are ranked one through five with five being “Greatly Exceeds Standards.” Zinke received a “three” for his Military Bearing/Conduct which means Zinke “Meets Standards.”

If he would have received a rating of “One” (Below Standards) or “Two” (Progressing), it could have had a very negative effect on his career.

Although the rating of “Three” in Military Bearing/Conduct was a hit to his record, in the same report he was recommended for early promotion.

In his next report, Zinke’s Military Bearing/Conduct was rated as a five. It appears that in most rating areas after that he was rated at a four or five.

So that is what I found in my initial review. I will review them a little more closely today.

So after all this waiting, this is it? Whoever suggested to Zinke that he delay the release of the records or not release them should have their heads examined – if this is it. The records could have been released in June or July or August when nobody was paying attention and by now it would have been old news.

But it’s with us for the next week – in full force. Read on…

As for his opponent and the Democrats, they have a storyline to use for the final seven days of the campaign season. It started out late last night with the Montana Democrats sending out a press release with the headline:

Bombshell Breaking News: Zinke Lies about Service, Records show “Lapses in Judgment” and “Declining Performance Marks” in Leadership

Game Changer in US House Race, Records Reveal Zinke Is not Who He Says He Is

Montana’s U.S. House race just got interesting.


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