Let’s start with the easy stuff. Matt Rosendale is a bigot and a liar. His race baiting statement in opposing the Juneteenth Holiday was a blatant racist dog whistle. His stomping around the state in a cowboy hat and big belt buckle calling himself a rancher when he owned no cattle and didn’t even have a registered brand was and is a bold-faced lie. Just two examples. I will support whoever I think will really go after him . That person is Gary Buchanan.
I am a lifelong liberal Democrat having run twice successfully for the Montana Senate and once for the Montana Public Service Commission. I served as a local Democratic Central Committee Chair and did a stint on the State Executive Board. When I was in the State Senate, I also served as one of four board members of the Montana Legislative Campaign Committee. This is the first time in my life I have supported an independent candidate for anything.
In my career in politics, I learned how to look at the numbers of past elections. The simple fact is that it would take a truly extraordinary democrat to win in the Eastern Congressional District. At a minimum, that person would have to have name recognition across the district and connections beyond the usual Democratic constituent groups. More importantly, that person would have to be able to raise enough money to be a serious contender against Rosendale’s bank roll provided by the far right. Looking at the field of Democrats in the primary I simply didn’t see anyone who met these basic criteria.
I’ve supported plenty of Democrats over the years who were unlikely to win. To me it’s about more than that. To beat Rosendale, we need someone who will aggressively and effectively go after his record in Montana and in congress. Win or lose Gary Buchanan will do that. I know it from personal experience.
The electric deregulation mess is fading into the past. Just remember that it is the worst economic disaster in our history. When the bill passed in 1997, I was amazed at the broad support it received from politicians, big business, and even organized labor. The opponents at the time were seniors, low-income advocates, and environmentalists. It was a lop-sided political battle, but Buchanan didn’t care. He saw the economic folly of the proposal and got active. I watched him give testimony, read his editorials, and had numerous discussions with him about deregulation and its politics. He was fearless and forceful. He did not give a damn about partisan politics or who he might offend.
I don’t agree with Buchanan on lots of things. I’m not impressed that he has worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations. I’m not enamored with his profile as a serious businessperson or the support he is receiving from so-called moderate Republicans. I’m not persuaded by those who argue that he will split the Democratic vote and be responsible for Rosendale’s re-election. A traditional Democratic campaign, underfunded and over matched, has almost no chance of winning anyway.
I know that Buchanan will say what he means and do what he says. He’s not going to play a bunch of political games to get elected. He understands that Matt Rosendale is an embarrassment to Montana. He has the character, experience, and personality to call Rosendale out.