Montana Democratic Party Executive Leaving

By Beacon Staff

HELENA (AP) – The Montana Democratic Party’s executive director is resigning to work on the presidential campaign of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Jim Farrell’s departure to work as the campaign’s deputy state director in Iowa, beginning Oct. 1, is one of three resignations by state party staff members. Communications director Jessica Rhoades left recently to work in Helena for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and field director Chris Laslovich plans to work as a union organizer in Helena.

The resignations leave the Montana Democratic Party with a staff of two: field organizers Bryce Bennett in Whitefish and Josh Mann in Billings.

Handling communications for Richardson in Iowa will be Farrell’s main responsibility.

Farrell, 43, the Democratic Party’s executive in Montana for two years, has experience in previous presidential campaigns, including those of Bill Clinton and Michael Dukakis.

Farrell described party jobs as “fluid” and said the Montana party will withstand the loss of three staffers.

“Parties continually need new blood, fresh horses and fresh eyes on the work we do, and we’re stronger because of it,” he said.

The resignations are part of “a productive transition that is typical for dynamic and growing state party organizations,” he said.

Hiring a new executive director rests with Dennis McDonald of Melville, the state party chairman. Filling other staff vacancies would be the responsibility of the new executive director.

McDonald could not be reached for comment Friday.

Farrell said he expects his replacement could be named fairly quickly, but did not know if an interim replacement would be named.