I take my vacation on the combine and tractor. – Jon Tester
Today I provide independent commentary about the following items for this edition of The Wednesday Read:
- Friends & Family Vacation
- Gianforte & WH Press Briefing
- Lee Newspapers & Tester
- WaPo on Gianforte
Family & Friends Vacation:
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that Sen. Claire McCaskill paid more than $15,000 out of her own pocket to bring Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and their spouses, along on a McCaskill family and friends vacation to Cancun, Mexico, last year, according to financial disclosure forms filed by Schumer and Tester.
McCaskill spent $7,410 for Tester and his wife, Sharla, to join McCaskill’s party in Cancun, according to the Post Dispatch.
It’s all perfectly legal, but now many folks are wondering where they can get a friend like Claire McCaskill. There’s no word if Tester brought a suitcase of beef with him…
Gianforte & WH Press Briefing:
About halfway through the daily White House Press Briefing on Tuesday a reporter asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer about violence against reporters and mentioned Greg Gianforte:
This weekend, while you all were gone, someone shot up the Lexington Herald-Leader, and of course we understand what happened in Montana with now-Congressman Gianforte — I think it’s a misdemeanor charge of assault. Will this administration take a stand against violence aimed at reporters?
Spicer said, “We’ll take a stance against violence against any individual.”
Good to know. Good to know.
Lee Newspapers & Tester:
A few days ago Lee Newspapers ran a story titled, “Special election results raise questions about Tester’s 2018 reelection bid.”
The story was around 1,700 words. It could have answered the “questions about Tester’s 2018 reelection bid” in a couple of sentences.
Tester should be highly-favored in the race unless he goes full Gianforte and body slams someone or something like that. I hear you can still get elected if you do that in Montana…
Montana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Essmann is saying the right things like, “We’ve got a strong bench of Republican candidates.” Essmann might as well say we have a strong bench of sacrificial lambs standing by, and we’re waiting to see which one is brave enough to step forward.
Here’s how I have the possible opponents of Tester ranked:
Ryan Zinke would have been the most competitive. He appears to be out. Attorney General Tim Fox appears to be the second-most competitive. Some of Fox’s supporters are pointing to his last race against a candidate who did not file until the last day as proof he can dominate. (Psst, he can’t) We have State Auditor Matt Rosendale in third place. Fourth might be Greg Gianforte because he will run for reelection in the House and since he’s going to take punishment anyway, he might as well go for the senate. Rounding out the top five is Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton.
I know there are a couple others who have already announced they were running. They have less chance than these five.
I predict Tester will probably win his next election with 48-51% of the vote. It will be nasty and much money will be spent. Bloggers and reporters will love it.
WaPo on Gianforte:
In case you missed it, the Washington Post (WaPo) editorial board came down hard on Montana’s Greg “body slam” Gianforte:
If Mr. Gianforte is convicted of his pending assault charge, he should resign. If he declines to step away, the House of Representatives should expel him. Otherwise, a man convicted of assaulting a reporter and who subsequently lied about the incident, will serve in a body whose very existence proclaims that even the most contentious disputes can be managed through debate and peaceful disagreement.
One thing for sure, Gianforte embarrassed Montana. He will never live it down and when his history is written, that will be a major part of it – even if he donates a few million dollars to the journalism school at the University of Montana.
That’s it for The Wednesday Read. Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter (@TheWesternWord).