The Wednesday Read

Here are a few things that caught my attention for this column:

  • Voting in Cascade County
  • The Big Haul
  • Draft Austin Knudsen
  • One More Thing


Although Sandra Merchant, Cascade County Elections official, has postponed the Public Test of the vote tabulator until Tuesday, APRIL 25 at 2:00 pm in Exhibition Hall at Expo Hall, there are a group of citizens who will hold a press conference today (April 12) at 2:00 pm outside Exhibition Hall at the fairgrounds.

During the press conference, the group plans to announce the formation of a citizen committee to monitor Election office operations and provide voters with suggestions on how they can be involved in the elections process.

If you are concerned about your right to vote in Cascade County, this is a great opportunity to get involved to ensure we have fair elections.


According to several sources, including The Hill, U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) reelection campaign announced on Tuesday that it raised more than $5 million in the quarter of 2023, marking a significant financial haul for one of the top targets of Republicans on the 2024 Senate map.

It was also reported that of the total raised, 96 percent was collected after he officially rolled out his campaign for a fourth term on Feb. 22. The campaign added that the figure is “the highest-ever first quarter fundraising performance by a U.S. Senate campaign in Montana history.”

The amount Tester raised just narrowed the field of Republicans thinking about taking on Tester, significantly.

Note: Campaign officialsplease add The Western Word to your media list at

Read the complete story from The Hill HERE.


I saw that “The Free American Fund” is running a Facebook ad trying to draft Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen to run for U.S. Senate. (Source)

They contend, “As Attorney General, Austin Knudsen has proven his record as a strong conservative who gets results for Montana—the same qualities we need in the United States Senate!”

Besides the typical conservative talking points of defending the Second Amendment, upholding Montana values, etc., they also add that Knudsen will “fight the woke liberal agenda of Joe Biden!”

There you go, he’s a “woke” fighter!

Knudsen cannot beat Tester even if the Montana Legislature tilts the scales in Knudsen’s favor.


The only things that annoy Republicans more than pronouns are complete sentences.@middleageriot

## #MTLovesTikTok ##


9 thoughts on “The Wednesday Read

  1. Sorry to use so much bandwidth today Jackie … another prior topic update.

    Looks like Scot Kerns’ self-serving 1st DUI expungement bill was tabled April 6 in the Senate judicial committee, even before we discussed it here.

    Kind of interesting also to look at who voted for and against it in the House before it came over to the Senate. There were a surprisingly lot of yeas from both parties, with all our GF area reps apparently loving the idea and voting “yea” except for one, Lola Sheldon-Galloway. So thank you Lola for that.

  2. On a prior topic of fees and tax increases, this is everyone’s big chance. Our favorite GF commissioner has posted a call on the local far right extremist blog for concerned citizens to come forward during upcoming budget discussions and suggest specific cuts, so maybe tax and fee increases wouldn’t be quite so necessary (?). Something like that.

    He presents the matter as a pretty stark choice between either increasing your burden or the City not being able to deliver the level of services people demand.

    So whatever happened to all that bloat and waste he used to blither about back when he was just a meaningless frog croaking in the local pond, like “Cadillac city health insurance”? That sort of thing not on the chopping block anymore once you become a made member of the big swamp?

    For some inexplicable but apparently tangentially related reason during this call for citizen budget involvement the commissioner also made it a point to weave in – 3 times no less – a claim that he and the (old, more liberal) commission voted twice NOT to raise fees and two taxes, during the 2020 and 2021 pandemic years. So … attaboy.

    Though – oddly – he totally neglected to mention the fact that he and the current (new, more conservative) commission turned right around in 2022 and voted to raise fees and those exact same two taxes, including “carryover mills” from those two years they voted not to raise, so in essence they’re taking all the foregone money anyhow, just all in one lump sum later instead of previous small bites.

    How soon we apparently hope voters will forget. Or maybe be fooled by stating “we voted no tax increases in 2020-21 !” while neglecting to mention the 2022 retroactive hike.

    If I understand it correctly those new City tax hikes they voted last year will show up on this year’s bill, along with the new County safety levy tax hike, maybe the library levy if we approve that, and whatever increased property value hike might result from new state property valuations. And THEN we’ll get to vote on Rick’s “elephant in the room” City safety levy.

    • The thing I noticed about his post (or his re-election platform) is nobody cared.
      You raise some great points. Thanks. I am looking for a candidate who promises not to raise fees and taxes. -JmB

      • May I suggest – – – while you’re looking for that candidate who promises not to raise fees and taxes, be sure that if you find one of those, they’re also a person who keeps their promises. I suspect that’ll be the more difficult search.

  3. “Knudsen cannot beat Tester even if the Montana Legislature tilts the scales in Knudsen’s favor.”

    Maybe not but a very tilted elections staff in one of Montana’s most populous counties could probably swing it.

    I also have a new Cascade County elections theory, solely my own and based on zero actual evidence but when has that ever mattered, and it is that MAYBE the reason Merchant had to postpone the demo for two weeks could be a broken machine. As in broken by the elections deniers poking around in it to find those mysterious extra 3,000 votes, the physical access they were demanding from Fontana-Moore last year. After all, the foxes are in charge of the henhouse now.

    Not saying this is so, but you never know. Does anyone besides Sandra and her staff inspect those seals?

    • I have concerns about “the formation of a citizen committee to monitor Election office operations and provide voters with suggestions on how they can be involved in the elections process.” Just what the hell does that mean? Have we not had in place forever a fully functioning election office that worked perfectly? Why the need for the formation of a new committee? This sounds a lot like MAGA speak for there really was no problem until we MAGAs decided to manufacture an artificial one so as to further our wacko beliefs.

      It should be interesting. But ultimately the county will need to be held accountable if they fail to act to stop the crazy. Again, how does one person supported by the kookiest fringes out there get to change established protocol without due process and public input? But unfortunately, that’s the MAGA way. They will go as far as they can until there forced to stop.

      • I believe that new committee is being proposed by people on the other side of the fence from MAGA (i.e., the normal people side), out of concern that this new conspiracist elections office management probably needs a close eye on it.

        But can they? Wouldn’t be surprised to see the constitutionalist Sheriff office shoo them off the fair grounds for jaywalking or something.

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