HELENA – Republican Roy Brown said Monday that he lost by a 2-1 margin to Gov. Brian Schweitzer because the Democrats had more money to spend and used it on attack ads.
“I was outspent by a huge amount and much of the money was spent on false attacks,” Brown said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “They were very effective and they were completely false.”
Schweitzer used his own campaign money primarily for television advertisements that spoke about his own record, such as his work battling the proposed federal Real ID. The Democratic Party, however, spent several hundred thousand dollars hitting Brown on past votes and his work history in the oil industry.
Brown also said news articles didn’t defend him from the advertisements, and should have pointed out how much of Schweitzer’s campaign money was raised out of state.
“But no one seemed to want to report on the fact that all this money was being used to lie about me,” Brown said.
For instance, Brown pointed to a Democratic attack on him as “Big Oil Roy” and voting for tax breaks for the oil industry. But Brown said that vote spurred production in the state.
“It’s almost criminal the way they worded that ad. Did I vote for that bill, yeah? But it was a good thing for the state,” Brown said in a telephone interview.
Brown used much of his campaign money to attack Schweitzer for being a “bully,” highlighting a Schweitzer speech where the governor talks about tampering with the 2006 elections.
When Brown launched his campaign last year, he said it would take about $1.6 million to be competitive against the incumbent. Brown ended up raising about half that.
Montana Republican Party Chairman Erik Iverson said other factors also came into play, such as an election year that in general didn’t favor Republicans.
“I think it’s an uphill climb anytime you are getting outspent,” Iverson said. “And you couple that with an environment that was not good for Republicans and you can certainly end up with a result like you saw in the governor’s race.”
The Montana Democratic Party says Schweitzer won because Montanans like the job he is doing and wanted him in office another four years.
“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Brown does not want to accept that,” said party spokesman Kevin O’Brien. “They spoke very clearly to re-elect Brian Schweitzer.”
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