Montana is holding “special elections” on May 25, 2017 to replace the US congressional seat vacated by the current republican Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. As of a month ago, the republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, a NJ multi-millionaire was 6 points ahead of the democratic candidate Rob Quist, a singing cowboy.
What has changed the dynamics in this state which has consistently voted for republican presidents but which has elected democratic Senator John Tester, is that the republican rich contender Mr. Gianforte was recently caught on tape praising the US House’s passage of the AHCA bill.
If there was ever a time for the democratic party to test whether its representatives can connect with working rural workers, this is it.
Here is the rest of the story…
On 5/5/17 Jonathan Martin of the The NY Times penned the following report, “G.O.P. House Candidate in Montana Is Caught on Tape Praising Health Bill.”
“When Greg Gianforte, the Republican running for an open House seat in Montana, was asked on Thursday (5/4/17) whether he would have supported the bill repealing the Affordable Care Act that passed the House that day, he declined to answer.”
“Greg needs to know all the facts, because it’s important to know exactly what’s in the bill before he votes on it,” said a spokesman for Mr. Gianforte, who is running in a special election for the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
But on the same day, during a private conference call with Republican-leaning lobbyists in Washington, Mr. Gianforte offered a more supportive view of the health bill. Making the case for the “national significance” of the Montana election on May 25, Mr. Gianforte said: “The votes in the House are going to determine whether we get tax reform done, sounds like we just passed a health care thing, which I’m thankful for, sounds like we’re starting to repeal and replace.”
Mr. Gianforte’s attempt to appeal to two different audiences — Montana voters skeptical about the House’s repeal bill and Washington Republicans eager to undo President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment — illustrates the complicated politics surrounding the health law. While Republicans expect their elected officials to fulfill their longstanding vows to tear up the Affordable Care Act, the broader electorate is uneasy about abandoning the law’s protections and benefits it has come to depend on.
On May 6, 2017, Clare Foran of The Atlantic penned the following report, “Are Democrats Doing Enough to Flip Montana’s House Seat?”
The (democratic) party has a chance to change that in an upcoming House election in Montana. But while Democrats want to capitalize on the president’s low national approval ratings to win back seats, it’s not clear the party has found a winning formula yet to compete in rural parts of the country where Trump is more popular.
“Montana is the kind of state where Democrats may need to make inroads if the party wants to expand its reach across the country, and convince voters who believe Democrats are out of touch that they are not a party of coastal elites. Trump won the state by double digits in November, and both candidates in the special election to replace Republican Ryan Zinke, who left Congress to become interior secretary, are making a populist pitch. Democrat Rob Quist reminds voters that the House of Representatives should not be a “millionaires’ club.” Republican Greg Gianforte has promised, like Trump, to “drain the swamp.”
“The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to the House, has spent roughly $600,000 to help fund pro-Quist TV advertising and voter-turnout efforts. The Democratic National Committee plans to deploy staffers to the state, help fund-raise and recruit volunteers for the campaign, and spend five figures on a digital-advertising play to get out the vote.”