Montana Democratic Party Gets New Director

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – The Montana Democratic Party has a new executive director.

David Benson, a veteran of political campaigns in South Dakota and Minnesota, took over the job in mid-October. He replaces Art Noonan, who resigned last summer.

The 29-year-old Benson is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls. He worked on Sen. Tom Daschle’s unsuccessful re-election race in 2004 and, after moving to Minnesota in 2005, worked for a political action committee called Midwest Values. He later was deputy campaign manager for Al Franken’s 2008 senate race.

Benson said he’s looking forward to the 2010 elections, setting his sights on the Legislature and five-term U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, the lone Republican in Montana’s congressional delegation.

He said he wants to build on the successes of Montana Democrats.

“First and foremost, it’s recruiting good candidates,” he said. “It is being competitive all across the state in the legislative races, holding on to our PSC (Public Service Commission) seats that we currently have and, of course, defeating Denny Rehberg.”

He praised Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer and U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester for advocating for Montana families, farms and businesses.

In Minnesota, Benson worked for Stephanie Schriock, who managed the Franken campaign after running Tester’s 2006 general election race. Schriock, a Butte native, is now Tester’s chief of staff in the senate.

The Montana Democratic Party now has two other employees besides Benson. He plans on hiring a fund raiser and someone to work on 2010 legislative races.

“For me coming in to this position, I want to create stability and continuity for the party for now and in the future,” Benson said.

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