Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte recently announced that he is running for Montana’s governor position. In 2018, during his congressional run, some Republicans balked at investing in Gianforte because they feared he would jump ship to the governor’s seat (a rumor that had been circulating for months even then). Despite his assurances that he was committed to retaining the congressional seat, apparently the rumor was true and his intent was to attempt, yet again, to obtain the governor position. By pursuing his latest personal interest, he is virtually forfeiting the lone congressional seat to Democratic control. Thanks, Greg.
Of course, as Gianforte retains the power of his own billion-dollar purse, Corey Stapleton, as expected, jumped ship from the governor’s race to the congressional race. And then there’s Matt Rosendale. He entered the congressional race … again. The Republican ticket is becoming a tired rerun of the same names in different slots. And while rerunning the same folks builds name recognition, when the voting public has a negative visceral reaction to hearing a name, the chances of securing the position decline rapidly.
This “I want a seat, any seat, please give me a seat” rings hollow with most Montanans I know. We sure wish folks would apply for the position they actually want, and if they are rejected, stop running for the position. This is especially true for those Republicans who currently hold an elected position. For those of us on the ground who work hard to get Republicans elected to office, we feel duped when someone who holds a seat we worked hard to place them in turns around and runs for a different seat, leaving the position vulnerable to Democratic control. These positions matter to Montanans, and we expect when someone is granted a position, they fulfill the duties of the seat before launching into the next election. For Gianforte, consider the unaddressed gaping chest wounds of health care, immigration reform, Social Security insolvency, and the federal debt. Stapleton’s debacles as Secretary of State vastly outweigh any achievements, and his most recent foray into practicing law without a license reveals a lack of critical thinking and good sense. Rosendale hasn’t delivered any results as he spent most of his first two years in office running a losing Senate campaign and now will spend the rest of 2019 and 2020 running for Congress. At most, he spent a whopping six months on state auditor work without campaign distraction.
Frankly, none of these candidates have earned the seat they now seek as they fail to place public service before self service. For Montanans, “that’s what it’s all about,” and I hope the same rings true at the ballot booth.
Tammi Fisher is an attorney and former mayor of Kalispell.