Wednesday’s Political Potpourri

Welcome to Wednesday! When there are several stories out there that I want to comment about, I combine them into a “potpourri” column.

Today’s topics include:

  • Zinke’s Campaign Donations
  • Johnson & MT Governor 2016
  • MT House 2016
  • MT Superintendent of Public Instruction 2016
  • Daines & OPM
  • Anti-Marijuana Initiative

Zinke’s Campaign Donations:

It did not take the Montana Democrats (or one of their supporters) very long to scour the campaign finance records to find out that U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) received $500 from Earl Holt III. Holt is a white supremacist and may have influenced Dylann Roof, who is charged with killing nine African-Americans in a South Carolina church last week. Holt had donated to several presidential candidates and members of Congress.

The Montana Democrats sent a press release titled “Rep. Zinke Accepted Funds from Known White Supremacist” and they called on Zinke to call to return the contribution. Then the Montana Democrats received their five minutes of fame when the Associated Press (AP) picked up the story. #Winning

Make no mistake about it, the Montana Republicans would do (and have done) the same thing when someone who donated to a Democrat was in trouble. It falls along the same line as complaining about the outside money flowing into the state to influence issues and elections when both sides get heaps of money from outsiders and groups

That’s the way the game is played in party politics.

Zinke did better than return the donation. The AP reported that Zinke is donating the money to a fund set up for the families of the victims of the Charleston shooting. #Winning

At least Zinke or his spokesperson did not say something stupid like, it had already been spent.

Brad Johnson for Governor:

I was surprised to read that Public Service Commissioner Brad Johnson has launched a new campaign website for Montana Governor. On his Twitter page Johnson said, “We can do better. That’s why I’m exploring a run for Governor in 2016.”

Back on May 15 I wrote the following when Lee Newspapers reported that Johnson was considering a run for Governor:

I have always liked Brad Johnson. I was deeply disappointed back in 2010 that Johnson was driving drunk, and I wrote about it HERE.

It’s my personal opinion that Johnson should stay where he is (PSC). He’s run for more elective offices than I can remember. I think people grow tired of perpetual candidates.

Johnson does have a lot of experience, but I don’t think he can beat the current Governor, Democrat Steve Bullock, who has indicated that he is running again. Frankly, I don’t see anyone on the GOP side who can beat Bullock (at this time) no matter the experience or how deep their pockets.

I still feel that way today.

U.S. House of Representatives 2016:

We have the first announced candidate for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat. The Great Falls Tribune reported Tuesday that former Blackfeet tribal official James Stgoddard announced that he was running as a Democrat for the seat.

Currently Republican Ryan Zinke occupies the seat. Zinke is in his first term. Normally the first election for an incumbent is when they are at their weakest, so I expect several Democrats to line up for the chance to run against Zinke. Zinke may even get a primary opponent from a member of the far-right fringe.

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction 2016:

We have a race! I received an email from Republican Elsie Arntzen Tuesday afternoon announcing that she is a candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Democrat Melissa Romano-Lehman previously announced she was running for the open seat. The Associated Press has the story HERE.

This seat has been controlled by Democrats for several terms, so it may be hard for a Republican to break through and win it. Arntzen does have some name recognition from being a state legislator and running for Congress. I’ve heard there may be more people entering the race.

You can find Arntzen’s website HERE. You can find Romano-Lehman’s website HERE.

*Candidates – please add The Western Word ( to your press release email list! Also, follow me on Twitter (@TheWesternWord) and I’ll follow you back.

Daines: OPM Director Should Step Down:

In a press release received here at The Western Word, U.S. Senator Steve Daines called on Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Katherine Archuleta to step down in light of recent reports that due to failures in OPM’s security, an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees were victims of a mass cyber breach.

I agree with Daines.

I’m a former federal employee and I received the letter from OPM informing me that my personal information may have been stolen in a cyber breach. I wrote about it HERE. That column has been the most-read column this month. This is a very important issue to millions of people.

By the way, Daines has his new official Senate website up and running. I like it.

Anti-Marijuana Initiative:

KRTV in Great Falls reported that Billings businessman Steve Zabawa will once again attempt to get an initiative on the ballot to make all marijuana illegal in Montana including for medical purposes.

I’m not in favor of this, but since I am a very fair person I wanted my readers to know about this plan…

Maybe we’ll see someone try to get an initiative on the ballot to make all marijuana legal. I could support that.


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2 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Political Potpourri

  1. Rehberg accepted $1000 from Holt in 2012. What will he do with it? He must have some $$ in his old war chest. Has anyone asked him?

    • Doug – I doubt anyone has asked him. Since he is not in office or running for office probably nobody cares what he does. -JMB

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