Senator Theresa Manzella is no stranger to controversy, and although she lives in Hamilton, she’s no stranger to Great Falls. Manzella is the leader of the “Freedom Caucus,” an extremist group of Republican Representatives, including Great Falls Rep. Steven Galloway. Manzella has spent the past three years repeating the Big Lie- claiming the 2020 election was stolen. (https://montanafreepress.org/2022/01/25/republican-minority-presses-for-election-investigation-in-court-of-public-opinion/?fbclid=IwAR2GpI3RcyyyXgbP985DcKfCrji4sYNMYUg3tnmhvG1kAF2VHEzKAI88k14)
This delusion has been repeatedly disproven, but Manzella and the Great Falls Pachyderm Club haven’t changed their tune. Instead, Manzella continues to travel the state speaking with groups of MAGA Republicans. Known for her aggressive tactics and violent rhetoric, Manzella is a clear influence on Julie Bass and the election deniers that have taken over the Clerk and Recorders office. Jan Weenas, who has been volunteering in the Elections office, brought Manzella and her inane conspiracy to Great Falls in May 2022. We previously reported on Weenas history with election denial here: https://wtf406.com/2023/04/elections-update-things-just-got-worse/
Now Manzella is in the headlines again, this time for posting a meme showing a man being drug behind a horse with the text “Make Drag Shows Great Again.” There’s a lot to unpack here. Firstly, the use of Trump slogans is no surprise. Manzella wholly embraces Trump ideology, parroting election integrity lies and promoting violence. Manzella tried to backtrack, claiming this was simply a “joke” about rodeo. Let’s ask the family of Matthew Shepherd if jokes about dragging gay people to death are funny. After a recent attempted murder of a trans person in Great Falls, I don’t find myself chuckling.
This isn’t the first time Manzella has promoted violence against the LGBTQ+ community. In 2021, Manzella spoke at political rallies stating that violence against LGBTQ+ people is a “consequence” for our existing in public. Manzella herself faced no consequences for using her platform to promote violence. In response to her most recent rhetoric, the Democratic Party released a statement condemning Manzella’s post. The Montana Human Rights Network has gone a step further with a petition calling for Manzella’s removal. You can sign that petition here: https://secure.everyaction.com/-vu7uB7kIE-U8cd7z6SosQ2?fbclid=IwAR0BN2b0qqRdNDP4FQv8EtTgGEJvRv1h9wMvHbxGAZ-s52dYCuoBSLZQr44
Manzella is a prime example of the intersection between bigotry and election denial. Manzella is but one in a string of extremist speakers brought to our city by Great Falls’ Republicans. As part of their 5 For 5 group, they also hosted Pastor Jordan Hall, a violent bigot who was later arrested for DUI charges, embezzling from his church, and violently assaulting his wife and children.
The same crowd that wants to purge all voter roles also loudly cheers violence against LGBTQ+ people. Give Manzella a microphone and she’ll claim election integrity with one breath, then call for the murder of Queer people with the next. Great Falls election deniers have wholly embraced the Manzella ideology- ignore facts, threaten the marginalized, and scream your lies with your whole chest. From Theresa Manzella to Julie Bass, the election denier crowd are a dangerously unhinged group of conspiracy theorists. Republicans are using Great Falls as a stage for the state’s most dangerous liars.
Read more about the Democrat’s response to Manzella here:
Read about Great Falls’ Republicans love for Jordan Hall here: https://wtf406.com/2022/08/republicans-support-disgraced-former-pastor/
Read about Manzella’s prior attacks on the LGBTQ+ community here:
See Manzella’s offensive post here: