By Tim Baldwin
Conservatives had what, at first, appeared to be a tough choice in deciding whether to support Matt Rosendale or Corey Stapleton in the primary, seeing that a vote-split would enable Ryan Zinke to get elected. Evidence now shows Stapleton is the best choice.
Rosendale projects himself as far right politically – shooting down drones and such – but he opposes the Article V movement to limit federal power; and Montana Conservative Alliance (MCA), a well-known conservative group, ranked Rosendale at 54 (100 being the most conservative) in 2013 and at 53 in 2011. By comparison, MCA ranked former senator and 2012 lieutenant governor candidate Jon Sonju (R) much higher at 71 in 2013 and 77 in 2011.
Stapleton supports Article V, and MCA ranked Stapleton in 2007 at 51 and higher in his earlier terms – starting in 2000. Stapleton has a stellar academic, political, military and professional career and has a consistent, honorable and transparent character.
Ironically, those who insist Rosendale is more conservative than Stapleton rejected the Hill-Sonju campaign and voted third party (enabling Bullock’s victory). But the evidence shows Rosendale is less conservative than the Hill-Sonju ticket and is no more conservative than Stapleton. It seems Rosendale hoodwinked far-right conservatives or substantially flipped his politics.
Stapleton is the best choice for the Republican Primary.
By Joe Carbonari
Thinking again about the Montana congressional race it’s interesting to watch those who are considering whether to back Matt Rosendale, to whom they may be instinctively drawn, or Corey Stapleton, who would seem a safer but less “inspiring” choice. Rosendale would be a hard sell in the general election. He doesn’t seem to do well with “moderates.” Stapleton appears to do better with this group, but I don’t think that either of these candidates will match Ryan Zinke’s basic appeal to them – he’s widely considered the most “electable.” If the general election turns on the “moderates,” then who appeals most to them matters a lot. Zinke appeals – as, by the way, does John Lewis on the Democratic side.
To be fair, Elsie Arntzen also seems to deserve some attention. She has energy, enthusiasm and a pleasing approach. There’s the possibility that she’ll emerge unelected but still unsullied, with now a less cluttered field for her political future. I think she bears watching. She might have a talent for getting things done. We need more of that.
At the least, let’s hope that this primary moves voters to learn more about the character and the capability of the candidates, and the complexities of the issues in question. Votes cast in ignorance can do harm as well as good. Give it some thought. Something’s better than nothing, or so they say.
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