Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. – John Kenneth Galbraith
Unless a great Libertarian candidate for Montana’s open At-Large House seat is nominated to run, the choice between Democrat Rob Quist and Republican Greg Gianforte will be a tough one for this blogger. Maybe it will be a tough choice for you, too.
So heads-up to these candidates and their staffers – you have some selling to do in the next 79 days.
Here are some of my thoughts about the race between Rob Quist and Greg Gianforte.
Both candidates are probably pretty nice fellows. I don’t think I have ever met either. Both have some baggage. Both seem to represent their political parties pretty well, but it seems this race will be between a far-leftie and a far-rightie.
Since my views range from somewhat conservative to somewhat liberal on those political tests, I find myself in a pickle.
If you’ve read my commentary on this website very much, then you know that I am tired of Montana’s U.S. House seat being used as a stepping stone for some other office or position.
In the past, those holding that seat have let their egos take over (Rehberg, Daines, and Zinke) and have put their own wishes ahead of the state. We end up at the bottom of the seniority list because nobody will stay in the seat long enough to gain some seniority.
I don’t really care if my only U.S. House member is a Democrat or a Republican – I just want someone who wants to do the best job possible. We need a person who wanted the job and someone young enough to be able to stay in the seat and gain some clout for Montana.
I don’t really feel that way with Quist or Gianforte.
Rob Quist is 69. If elected, I don’t see him wanting to stay in the grind of being Montana’s lone House member for very long. I read somewhere that he would stay in the seat for as long as the people wanted him. That was the correct answer to give. Being a U.S. Representative is not a few night shows on the road each week. This is a two-year tour (less in this special election) in which the folks who work at the airports will see more of him than his family – and he will need to be campaigning and raising money year-round. By the way, there are a lot of jerks in the U.S. House, where everyone thinks they are class president.
Greg Gianforte is 55. If elected, he might stay in the seat a little longer, but he seems like he is looking for something bigger – with a brighter spotlight. Gianforte told the Associated Press that he would seek at least two terms if he wins the special election this year. That probably means he will run for Governor in 2020 and not pay too much attention to his job in the U.S. House if elected. This race is kind of like a “rebound” romance for Gianforte since he lost the gubernatorial race to Steve Bullock in November. At least he’s getting right back on the horse!
Quist has a gun issue to deal with which is normally a killer for any candidate who wants more gun control in Montana. Quist was talking about assault rifles and gave the Republicans the perfect line to attack him with, “You register your car to drive, why not register guns.” He was talking about assault rifles, but he’ll need to spend some money to get that point across. He also has some other liberal or progressive stands that he will need to defend.
A GOP super PAC went after Quist the day after he won the nomination with a $700,000 ad buy in Montana. Before that, Gianforte was on the air promoting himself – even before he won the nomination. These two things just make the mountain harder to climb for Quist. The Democrats will need to have “all hands on deck” to help Quist be successful.
As for Gianforte, the Bullock campaign has the notes on how to beat him: He’s very rich and he is not from around these parts, plus he sued the state over stream access, and he once advocated for a sales tax in Montana.
I think Gianforte really needs to come across as a kinder and gentler person in his commercials – to me he comes across as a know-it-all smart ass. A few of my friends told me they said, “Not again” (or worse) when Gianforte recently started airing more campaign commercials.
In the next 79 days, I hope we’ll see a few debates between the candidates so I can get an answer to the burning question: Quist or Gianforte?
Quist or Gianforte? You Pick:
NOTE: Don’t forget to take The Western Word poll which asks, “Who do you want to be the next U.S. Representative for Montana?” CLICK HERE.
The results will be published in my “Thursday Numbers” column.