Caught My Eye…

No matter what name we give it or how we judge it, a candidate’s character is central to political reporting because it is central to a citizen’s decision in voting. – Roger Mudd

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

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 the Zinke commercial, Montana Secretary of State, Confidential Settlements, The Western Word picks the winning candidates (so far), ballots, and much more!


In the new Ryan Zinke for Congress campaign ad called “Protect,” Lola Zinke photobombs her husband during his commercial:


Well, maybe not. I contacted the Zinke campaign and asked if there was some reason Lola Zinke did not speak during the commercial. I was told that there was no specific reason, that’s just what the Zinkes decided to do.

Alrighty then…but I wonder what Donald Trump thinks…

You can watch the whole commercial HERE.

Montana Secretary of State:

I’ve always liked Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch (D) and the few times I have met her she was professional and personable.

It was reported that McCulloch sent a letter to the editor of the Helena newspaper about the voting records of the two candidates running to replace her as Secretary of State. The Helena IR reports that McCulloch sent a letter to the editor about how often Republican Corey Stapleton and Democrat Monica Lindeen voted. She contends that Stapleton missed voting in several elections and that Lindeen has not missed voting in any election going back several years.

This is a negative mark on McCulloch’s public service career. I know it’s hard to believe, but Montanans expect their Secretary of State, who is also the head of elections, to at least appear to be neutral in our elections. Her action should concern all of us – and it was out of bounds.

The other concern we should all have is the information McCulloch released does not appear to match the public voting information Lee Newspapers obtained and the information the Montana GOP obtained about Stapleton’s voting record.

You can read the whole story from Lee Newspapers HERE to draw your own conclusions. I think you will agree that something smells.

Confidential Settlements?

The negative stories for Governor Steve Bullock, who is running for re-election, just keep rolling in.

The latest one was a story posted on the Bozeman Chronicle website earlier this week. Troy Carter of the Chronicle reported that according to public records Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration has paid more than $900,000 in settlements to state employees over the last three years and that on most state agencies won’t say why.

There are those who believe that it is correct to keep the identity of the people receiving the settlements confidential and there are those who believe the confidentiality violates Montana’s open records law.

Although each settlement is different, I can’t believe that all $900,000 in taxpayer money used in these settlements should be confidential.

No matter what you believe, this latest disclosure does not help Bullock.

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
The lewd comments from Donald Trump, plus other women coming forward with information about his alleged exploits has Clinton in pretty good shape. Are there any email leaks that will sink Clinton? This past week CBS News’ Scott Pelley talked about the polls showing Trump far behind and said, “No candidate has ever come back from this far behind this late.”

MT House At-Large: Ryan Zinke
-The Bozeman Daily Chronicle endorsed Denise Juneau this week. Zinke did not withdraw his support for Trump, so this has made this race closer, but still leaning toward a Zinke win.

MT Governor: Steve Bullock
-This race has almost as many twists and turns as Clinton/Trump. The feel I get from talking to moderates and independents is Bullock will win. The Republicans are doing a good job at tying Bullock to “scandals” like plane-gate, the marketing contract being awarded to a Wisconsin company, and now we have the confidential settlements. Bullock’s opponents must be wondering when one of these “scandals” will stick.

MT Secretary of State: Toss-up
-The race between Monica Lindeen and Corey Stapleton will keep many people up late on election night. I say it is now a toss-up from leaning Lindeen. The information about the current Secretary of State, Linda McCulloch, releasing information about the voting records of two candidates running to fill her office may backfire and help Stapleton. Only time will tell, but the information about McCulloch may affect this race.

MT Attorney General: Tim Fox
-Fox should win this race over Larry Jent.

MT State Auditor: Jesse Laslovich
-Unless things change, Laslovich will beat Matt Rosendale pretty easily.

MT OPI: Elsie Arntzen
-It’s getting closer! Melissa Romano is making a push during the last week. She needs to keep it up through Election Day. Like I said before, this race will probably be decided by just a few thousand votes.

MT Supreme Court Justice #3: Toss-up
-I now rate the race between Kristen Juras and Dirk Sandefur as a toss-up. Sandefur’s friends are doing a full-court press and he is on TV with some ads, although the one with Brant Light is freaking terrible.

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

One More Thing:

Hey Montanans – your absentee ballots are being mailed today (Friday, October 14).

With new information coming out almost every day, I think I will wait until closer to Election Day before completing my ballot.

Besides, sending my ballot back early won’t stop the campaign commercials…


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2 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. “Besides, sending my ballot back early won’t stop the campaign commercials…”

    If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.

    Go ‘hawks!

    • Doug – I guess the best way to not hear campaign ads is to shut off the TV and stay away from the internet! Go Chiefs! -JmB

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