MT Governor 2016: Next Man/Woman Up…

It looks like Montana Governor Steve Bullock (D) has a hard time keeping the seat warm in the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

Bullock has been in office since January 2013 (a little less than two years and 11 months) and already he is about to pick his third Lt. Governor.

Former Lt. Governor John Walsh quit his job as Lt. Governor when he was appointed by Bullock to the fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Max Baucus. Then Walsh unsuccessfully ran for the full term before quitting amid a scandal involving plagiarism. Now current Lt. Governor Angela McLean plans to step down to take a job with the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.

I’m sure McLean will do well in her new job – and she appears to be highly qualified for it. Nonetheless, the situation surrounding her resignation seems just a little odd. The Associated Press (AP) reported that McLean informed Bullock about her decision to resign only hours before it was announced she had accepted a new job.

While reading the AP’s timeline of events about the resignation, my first thought was, “Don’t they ever communicate?”

As for my speculation – maybe it was a “take this job and shove it” type of deal. Maybe not. Maybe someone did some opposition research. The GOP has been doing a pretty good job at it recently. Maybe Bullock’s advisors have a better candidate to run as his sidekick.

Somebody knows what really went on, but it does not appear they are talking. James Connor over at the Flathead Memo wrote about it on Monday. Read it HERE.

Lee Newspapers managed to interview just about everyone in Montana who might have an opinion or comment about the resignation. They interviewed a professor of political science, the Montana Republican Party Chairman, the communications director for the Montana Democratic Party, and the governor’s director of communications.

We basically found out nothing in those interviews.

As for McLean, she told the AP that, “I did what I came to do, and I think I was successful…”

She must do her work quickly – kind of like speed dating. It was like she was saying to Montana’s highly gullible reporters, “Nothing to see here – so move along.” The reporters seem to be doing just that.

So, who will be the next man/woman up? There are a number of people who could step into the spot and also hit the ground running for the campaign season. The first person who came to my mind was Montana Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. She ran a competitive race for attorney general against Tim Fox losing 54%-46%, so she knows how to campaign.

Of course, a military veteran would be a great fit for that position, too.

The bigger question is how does this affect Bullock’s reelection chances? It can’t be helpful to tie a record from the 1930s for having the most Lt. Governors. I can see the campaign ads already. There’s not a lot of room for error in the Bullock camp these days. He’s still the favorite, but his selection to fill this position may make a big difference.

Team Bullock needs to go the extra mile when vetting McLean’s replacement. Maybe they need to ask, “If selected for this position, how long might we expect you to stay?”

Bullock is down in the count 0-2. This isn’t softball.

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5 thoughts on “MT Governor 2016: Next Man/Woman Up…

  1. Whole reason Elmer Holt was chosen back in ’35 was because he was President of the Montana Senate. Cooney never chose a replacement for his old job and the line of succession kicked in.

    Today that would be Debbie Barrett.

    • Justin – Kind of for both reasons. I see your point and will try to make it clearer. Thanks – JmB

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