Vote In The Republican Primary?

Vote In The Republican Primary?

It seems like all of the old rules went out the window with the election of Donald Trump in 2016.  With the resources and energy of far-right groups like the Freedom Caucus, Moms for Liberty, American for Prosperity and others, the right flank of the Republican Party has taken over most of state and local government.  

Here in Cascade County there is a long standing feud between far-right Republicans, known as the Freedom Caucus, led by legislators like Steven Galloway and Lola Sheldon-Galloway, and more traditional pro-corporate Republicans like Ed Buttrey and Steve Fitzpatrick. This election almost all legislative seats have contested Republican primaries pitting these two factions against each other.  In addition, there is a hotly contested County Commission primary race between far-right incumbent Rae Grulkowski and local businessman Eric Hinebauch.

At the same time there is only one contested Democratic primary, the race for the Eastern Congressional District. The unfortunate fact is, no matter which Democratic candidate wins the primary, he will have virtually no chance of winning the seat in the general election. In short, there is not much reason to vote in the Democratic Primary here in Cascade County.

That brings us to the talk around town urging Democrats in Cascade County to vote in the Republican primary for the more reasonable of those candidates. Some folks are arguing that    a few votes could make the difference between more nuts and more reasonable people in public office. They may be right, and the fact is that there is really nothing to lose given the lack of contested Democratic primaries here.  Advocates of Democrats voting in the Republican primary, which is perfectly legal, say, “desperate times call for desperate measures|.”  

The following is a list of the contested primaries and who are the more far-right candidates.   

Cascade County Commission
Rea Grulkowski- Far Right
Eric Hinebauch

Senate District 13
Lola Sheldon-Galloway- Far Right
Josh Kassmier

House District 19
Hannah Trebas- Far Right
Darren Auger

House District 20
Steven Galloway- Far Right
Melisssa Nikolakkas

House District 21
Josh Osterman- Far Right
Ed Buttrey

House District 22
James Whitaker- Far Right
George Nikolakkas

House District 23
John Proud- Far Right
Pete Anderson- Far Right
Josh Denully
Eric Tillerman

Cascade Legislative Filings-  Republican Infighting Continues

Cascade Legislative Filings- Republican Infighting Continues

Let’s start with a little definition of terms used in this Post.  

Far-Right  Republicans– Republicans who advocate ideas and policies which are coming from extreme groups like the Freedom Caucus and local Pachyderm Club. They are driven by conspiracy theories including rhetoric about the “Deep State” and stolen elections. The Galloways, Public Service Commissioner Randy Pinocci, Sheriff Jesse Slaughter and County Commissioner  Rae Grulkowski are in this group. Also known as Tin Foil Hat Republicans

Corporate Republicans–  Republicans who generally fit into the more traditional frame of Republicanism. They promote privatization of public services and institutions, deregulation of industry, and cutting  taxes. Fitzpatrick, McKamey, Buttrey,  Nikolakos, Commissioners Briggs and Larson, Republican Central Committee Chair Eric Hinebauch are in this group.  Also known as Corporate  Lapdog Republicans.

If you follow local politics in Cascade County, you are probably aware of the feuds within the local Republican Party. We’re not going to go into in much detail here, but we provide this quote from Matthew Monforton, Republican activist, former legislator, and attorney who was representing the Far-Right  Republicans here in a lawsuit over control of the Republican Central Committee in 2019.  “What it comes down to is, there’s a group of fake Republicans in Cascade County that are really Democrats, but they know they can’t get elected to office as Democrats. Their goals are vastly different than those of the Republican Party.” 

https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2019/02/05/tensions-gop-threaten-boil-over-county-committee-fights-steve-fitzpatrick-sheridan-buck-monforton/2782214002/ 

A quick look at the filing for this election cycle indicates that the feud is still going. There is a contested Republican primary in every legislative district except one. Equally telling, only one current legislator and Corporate Republican, Steve Fitzpatrick, does not face a primary challenger.  Also interesting that four Libertarians have filed.  

To our readers who are gleefully rubbing their hands together over the discord within the Republican ranks, we have to say, “not so fast.”  The truth is that contested primaries make for stronger candidates in the general election cycle. They have already been raising money, meeting voters, buying materials and garnering media attention, and they bring those assets with them to the general election.  

So, we leave you with a little unverified gossip. Word is that Far-Right Republican  legislator Steven Galloway recruited James Whitaker to challenge incumbent George Nikolakos in House District 22.  Nikolakos was so angry that he got his wife to file against Steven Galloway at the last minute. We don’t know if this is the real story, but we do know that Melissa Nikolakos filed against Galloway on the last day to file at 3:38 p.m.  Hmmm.

 

HD 19
Jane Weber- D

Hannah Trebas – R

Darren Auger- R

 

HD 20

Rina Moore – D

Steven Galloway-R 

Melissa Nikolakos-R

 

HD 21

Lela Graham-D

ED  Buttrey-R 

James Osterman-R

Joshua Rosles-L

 

HD 22

Ronald Paulick- D

George Nikolakos-R 

James Whitaker- R

 

HD 23

Sandor Hopkins-D

Pete Anderson- R

John Proud-R 

Josh Denully- R

Kevin Leatherbarrow- L

HD 24

Steve Fitpatrick- R 

Annie Leatherbarrow- L

HD 25

James Rickley- D

Darren Auger- R

Steve Gist- R 

Loui Salinas- L

 

SD 13

Lola Galloway-R

Joshua Cashmier- R