BUTTE — Members of the Montana Democratic Party face an uphill battle in this fall’s general election, U.S. House candidate John Lewis said.
“This is going to be a tough election; let’s be honest,” Lewis said Friday during the party’s convention in Butte. U.S. Senate candidate “Josh Walsh and I are … we’re not well-known. It’s going to take a lot of work to change that.”
Walsh faces Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines in the Senate race while Lewis faces Republican Ryan Zinke in the House race.
Lewis and others who spoke at the party convention in Butte said Democrats planned to outwork the Republicans.
Eric Feaver, president of the MEA-MFT, the state’s largest labor union, told Lee Newspapers of Montana that he thinks it’s going to be difficult for Democrats to win their races but not impossible,
Fever and others said Lewis and Walsh need to make it clear to voters how they differ from Republicans on issues such as abortion, health care, education, public lands and the role of government.
If such pointed attacks show some success, Democratic candidates may be able to get some extra campaign funding, party officials said.
Gov. Steve Bullock said Democrats need to drive home the message that they support a woman’s choice to consider an abortion, investment in public education, same-sex marriage, more transparency in political spending, easier access to voting and the expansion of health care.
“Elections are won by making sure that every Montanan knows the values that we stand and fight for,” Bullock said. “Elections are won by having superior candidates, which we have. Elections are won by having the values that align with the values of Montanans, which we have.”
The Democrats left their platform largely unchanged, including a section that says the party supports reducing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide to help mitigate climate change.
Former congressional candidate and former state schools superintendent Nancy Keenan is helping with some Democratic campaigns.
“I think we’re much smarter (this time) about the importance of getting out the vote in a midterm election,” Keenan said. “We’re running on all cylinders here.”
The Republicans are holding their platform convention June 19-21 in Billings.