Caught My Eye…

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. – Thomas Jefferson

Welcome to the big show to end the week “Caught My Eye” (CME)!

What a week! Here I am working my tail off to bring you the best independent commentary from The Western Word world headquarters, which is located in a well-stocked underground bunker (in an undisclosed location). I worry about the Feds like Obama coming to take my guns or the UN moving in and taking over my compound. Now I have the added worry about freaking CLOWNS, running around my neighborhood, too? Beam me up, Scotty!

If you are a first-time visitor, CME is posted right here every Friday morning. This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. I often throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – maybe both.

Topics this week include Montana U.S. House debate poll results, Pinski vs. Briggs, The Western Word picks the winning candidates (so far), Hurricane Matthew, and much more!

Montana U.S. House At-Large Debate Poll:

Thanks to all the people who participated in The Western Word poll which asked who won the U.S. House debate in Great Falls Wednesday night between Ryan Zinke, Denise Juneau, or Rick Breckenridge.

It was back and forth the whole time the poll was up but in the end, Zinke won with 52% the vote and Juneau was second with 46%. Breckenridge had 2%.

More people participated in this poll than any poll in the history of The Western Word. Thanks!

Montana’s Best & Worst Campaign Ads (so far):

I try to watch as many campaign ads as I can and I subscribe to several candidates’ YouTube channels to be able to catch the new ads. My best and the worst awards don’t include third party ads. My awards are for the ads that the candidates paid for and have their names listed on as the one who paid for and approved the ad.

The Worst Campaign Ad:

The “winner” for the worst ad (so far) is Greg Gianforte’s “Syrians” ad. Gianforte is a Republican running for Montana Governor. The 30-second ad was posted October 3.

This ad has some beautiful Montana scenery and his campaign could have really used it for a positive message, but most of the audio and the accompanying email, in my humble opinion, is made up of half-truths and flat out lies about his opponent, Steve Bullock, wanting to allow unvetted Syrian refugees to come to Montana. The fact is, Bullock does not have a say in the matter and refugees coming into the state are vetted. No governor would knowingly place their state in danger.

According to the Great Falls Tribune, several clergy have come out against the ad. They sent a letter to Gianforte which in part says:

Instead of inviting a conversation about the truths of war, you turned war into a political attack in order to score points in an election. When almost every major paper in the state editorialized against the mailer you released with similar imagery, you continued to stand on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in the world a few weeks later when you released this TV ad with the same sentiment.

Here is the “Syrians” ad:


Best Campaign Ad:

The winner of the best campaign ad (so far) is Denise Juneau’s “Grow” ad. Juneau is a Democrat running for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat. The 30-second ad was posted September 23.

You can’t really go wrong with a campaign ad when you have some cute kids speaking. Juneau understands that children are the future and as a politician, she needs to make sure she works to give them a better future. It’s a positive ad in a sea of slimy ads.

Here is the “Grow” ad:


Congratulations to the winners. I wish I had a trophy to award to you, but The Western Word is on a limited budget. Readers – If you have different choices, let me know via email or in the comments section.

Pinski vs. Briggs:

Joe Briggs is a Cascade County Commissioner. Greg Pinski is a state of Montana district judge based in Great Falls. Stick with me here…

They are having a back and forth in the newspaper about the county providing more office and courtroom space for the possibility that a new district judge will be added to Cascade County in 2019.

Yep, 2019. I checked my calendar and this is 2016.

I don’t care for Briggs or Pinski that much. Briggs is up for reelection this November, so maybe one of the reasons Pinski is taking time out from whining about his busy schedule to write letters to the Tribune about Briggs’ suggestions is to help defeat him in November. Maybe Briggs’ opponent, Mitch Tropila, will be able to miraculously crap out more courtroom and office space for Pinski’s 2019 judge.

Pinski has been a judge for just a few years, but it seems to me that he craves publicity and attention. It seems there is always one judge in the larger counties who needs to be the attention getter. Pinski seems to be it for Cascade County.

I suggest Commissioner Briggs and Judge Pinski cease the back and forth note-passing in the paper and, if Briggs is re-elected, settle the issue face to face like adults in 2017.

Let me know about the meetings and I’ll bring the popcorn…

If The Election Was Held Today:

Almost every week until Election Day (mostly on Friday), I will pick who I think is winning eight key races from President on down to state-wide races in Montana. This does not mean they will be the winners in November or that I am personally supporting them, I just think they are winning their contests at this particular time. These picks are made from what I am hearing, seeing, and from my vast experience in the political world!

If the election was held today, I think the winners would be:

President: Hillary Clinton
-There’s another debate Sunday night for Donald Trump to try and score some points. Trump’s running mate (Mike Pence) may have helped him with his debate performance.

MT House At-Large: Ryan Zinke
-Denise Juneau’s supporters are throwing everything they can at Zinke to try and derail his campaign. I look for this race to get nastier as we approach November 8. Zinke did well in the last debate, but not great.

MT Governor: Steve Bullock
-Bullock’s opponent, Greg Gianforte, has saturated the airways with his ads and he has poured about $3.2 million of his own money into the race. I think he is losing ground to Bullock. The key thing in this race is that Bullock comes across as likable and Gianforte comes across as standoffish. Bullock and Gianforte will participate in a televised debate on Saturday. The debate will be held at the CBS and Montana Television Network affiliate KRTV studio in Great Falls and will begin at 6 p.m.

They really need to stop scheduling debates when football games are being played.

MT Secretary of State: Monica Lindeen
-Lindeen and Corey Stapleton both have ads up on TV. I still give Monica Lindeen a slight edge. 

MT Attorney General: Tim Fox
-This is the quiet race. Can Larry Jent make it competitive?

MT State Auditor: Jesse Laslovich
-Both Jesse Laslovich and Matt Rosendale had an opinion piece in the Great Falls Tribune. Laslovich does have the experience and is probably better known than Rosendale. I think that will be enough.

MT OPI: Elsie Arntzen
-Melissa Romano has an ad up on television now. This race will probably be decided by just a few thousand votes. Hard work in the last few weeks may make a difference.

MT Supreme Court Justice #3: Kristen Juras
-Dirk Sandefur has an ad up and may be making a move this week, but did the nasty third-party ad hurt him? Probably. Do all the judges and former judges and law enforcement people he contends support him really help? Maybe they just want preferential treatment from him? That’s the problem with judges being political candidates.

If you see any of the races differently, let me know in the comment section or send me an email (

One More Thing:

With all the talk of Hurricane Matthew on the east coast, it brings back memories of my wife and me surviving Typhoon Roy (category 4) which hit the island of Guam in January 1988. Peak winds were about 130 mph.

I was stationed at Andersen AFB during this time. Being on an island, there was no place to go to escape the typhoon. We just had to hunker down for a day or so.


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2 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. Keep an eye on Hurricane Nicole, “she” went to a Cat 2 last night and there is potential for an effect upon Matthew, driving “him” back to the south for another swipe at SoFL. Glad I’m not there.

    Go ‘hawks!

    • Doug- Nicole could cause some serious problems – there will at least be a lot of rain. – JmB

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