Update: This story is still in progress. There have been reports of a broad title strike amendment to HB 774 to bring this primary proposal back to life. Stay tuned for the next round of partisan power grabs from our GOP legislators.
Republicans shelved their proposal to alter the way the U.S. Senate primary is run in Montana. As of April 19th, SB 566 is tabled in the Montana House. That means it’s likely dead.
A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the particularly egregious efforts of the Montana GOP to keep Senator Jon Tester out of the general election in 2024. The cowardly way they attempted to silence Montana voters was by changing the rules of how candidates advance to the general.
SB 566 would have required that the two candidates who receive the most votes in a primary election for a U.S. Senate seat advance to the general election irrespective of party affiliation. That would mean that, if two Republican candidates got more votes than a Democrat or Libertarian in the primary elections, then whoops-a-daisy – no Democrat nor Libertarian can be on the ballot in the general election.
Just a reminder, EVERY GREAT FALLS SENATOR VOTED FOR THIS PARTISAN POWER GRAB: Emrich, Fitzpatrick, McKamey, and Trebas.
So why did the Montana House vote so decisively to table the bill, when every Great Falls senator was on board? One of the Republicans on the House committee who voted to table the bill, Rep. Gregory Frazer, spoke to the press. “I have had a lot of my folks from back home reach out to me and ask me to vote no on this – a lot more than what I thought.”
There you have it! Thank you, public backlash! Shaming people into doing the right thing can work.