The Wednesday Read: Where’s Daines, Mail Ballots, & Zinke

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. – Benjamin Franklin

Today I provide independent commentary about the following items for this edition of The Wednesday Read:

  • Daines Rescheduled
  • Emergency Chairman’s Report
  • Montana GOP & Tester & Zinke

Daines Rescheduled:

U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) was supposed to speak to the Montana Legislature on Tuesday, but the speech was moved to Wednesday.

Twitter was buzzing about the rescheduled speech.

Some folks believe that Daines rescheduled his speech because of several protestors around the capitol. I find that hard to believe, but if that excuse makes the protesting worthwhile for those there, then so be it.

As for the protests, people used to joke that when a large group of people was protesting a Republican official they would say the Democrats could get more people to protest because they did not have jobs. Some on the left say most of the people attending rallies for the Republicans are home-schooled kids and their parents.

So why did Daines reschedule? Maybe a reporter will ask. It could be security concerns. It could be something as simple as flat tire or diarrhea. It could be he was abducted by an alien. Maybe he was on Snapchat and lost track of time.

Daines is speaking on Wednesday, so I hope the protestors can take another day off (if they have a job) to greet him. If he does not show up on Wednesday, I suggest we put his photo on a raw milk carton…

As for the call for Daines and Tester to have town hall meetings face to face with their constituents, they could solve the dilemma by holding a couple town hall meetings together. They could have some real discussions about Montana and the nation. That would be epic…

Emergency Chairman’s Report:

Last night, the Chairman of the Montana Republican Party, Jeff Essmann, sent an “Emergency Chairman’s Report” telling recipients that he was against a “Mail Ballot Bill” (SB 305) which is sponsored by fellow Republican Steve Fitzpatrick.

By the way, Essmann also holds the dual role of being a state senator and Chairman of the Montana Republican Party.

Essmann contends “to replace Congressman Zinke, the bill will have long term negative impacts to the future election prospects of Republicans at all levels in Montana.”

He basically says approval of the bill will result in something close to Armageddon for Montana Republicans.

Essmann believes that a mail ballot election gives the Democrats an advantage:

All mail ballots give the Democrats an inherent advantage in close elections due to their ability to organize large numbers of unpaid college students and members of public employee unions to gather ballots by going door to door.

In other words, it’s about winning the upcoming special house election for Essmann which is his job as the head of the Montana Republican Party. That is instead of saving counties in Montana money by letting them choose whether to do the election by mail or the old-fashioned way. That is what SB 305 does.

Essmann also contends that in the 2006 U.S. Senate election Conrad Burns lost by 3,562 votes because of early voting. Wow – and here I believed that when Governor Brian Schweitzer said he made some calls on election night he was responsible for winning the election for Jon Tester. Maybe the loss was because the NRSC withheld funding from the Montana senate race in the last month or two and sent it to Missouri and Virginia, or maybe it was Burns’ remarks about firefighters that sealed the win for Tester. Maybe it was a third-party Libertarian candidate who received 10,377 votes. There are plenty of excuses out there.

If I was in the Montana Legislature, I would vote for SB 305. I already receive my ballots by mail and I like to have a few days to complete it. It looks like others feel the same way as the Great Falls Tribune asked readers “Should the 2017 Legislature approve a mail-in ballot for the special election for Montana’s congressional seat?” There were less than 100 votes, but 85% of those voting said “Yes.”

Montana GOP & Tester:

It was kind of funny to read the email from the Montana GOP in which they blamed the delay on Ryan Zinke being confirmed as Secretary of Interior on U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.)

This is just a guess, but I imagine it’s because the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, did not allow a hearing or vote on President Obama’s pick to fill the open spot on the U.S. Supreme Court (Merrick Garland). That ticked off many on the left. So this is payback. The Democrats can’t stop the process, but they can take the maximum time to debate each nominee.

The fact is that it happens on both sides of the aisle. It’s politics. It smells. The sad part is that there are partisans who are just dumb enough that they only see it one way.

It would be nice while he waits if U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke would do some work and earn part of the $174,000 per year he is getting paid to be Montana’s only U.S. Representative.

Nonetheless, Zinke being AWOL from his job for so long will have serious repercussions if he ever decides to run for public office in Montana again.


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5 thoughts on “The Wednesday Read: Where’s Daines, Mail Ballots, & Zinke

  1. Pingback: Caught My Eye… | The Western Word

  2. “…raw milk carton?” Didn’t JD Salinger write a book on such that was titled something like “Catcher in the Raw?”

  3. I have been calling or dropping off comments to Senator Daines Bozeman office daily for the last three weeks. One of my “points” is a Town Hall meeting with video and call-in capabilities. Your suggestion of having a joint Town Hall with Senator Tester is excellent. As of today I will include a joint Town Hall meeting. FYI: I heard through the grapevine Senator Daines actually went to the Simms building at Four Corners and spoke. My question is who cancels a meeting with the Montana Legislature for any reason?

    • Kathy: Thanks. It would be nice to have Daines and Tester do a forum together and take questions and discuss their differences. As for rescheduling the speech at the legislature, I heard that it was a “scheduling conflict” which sometimes happens. Nobody really knows why except for Daines and few staffers.

      Thanks again,


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