Live blogging from Tester HQ


Home now. Had some time alone on the porch swing, looked at the stars, felt the air on my skin. Quiet.

Some thoughts.

First the bad news. Conrad Burns looks like he’s won 70% of the primary vote. That’s a ringing endorsement from his base. It also looks like he’s going to receive more total votes than Tester did. On the other hand, if you add up the Tester and Morrison totals…

Still, I’m appalled at how many people cast a vote for Conrad Burns. There’s a lot of work to do.

The good news.

You feel that little spark of hope? You know the one, the little faint glimmer that’s been lying dormant all these years during the Bush administration. When all the sh*t hit the fan: the theft of the 2000 election, the pre-emptive strike against Iraq, torture, suspension of habeus corpus, domestic spying, the fixed 2004 election, and every time that little spark made you think, well, maybe this time…only the GOP toes the line (and to h*ll with the country!), and the Democrats roll over…

You feel that spark of hope that has been doused by timid and corrupt lawmakers?

You feel it?

Let it wash over you.

Embrace it. I dare you.



The California numbers.

The special election for HD 5 between Brian Bilbray and Francine Busby, with 11% of precincts reporting: Billbray at 50.63%, Busby 42.93%. It's still early, but that's a substantial gap. Pundits have tagged this race as a litmus test for the state of the Republican party this summer, except that Busby didn't run a great campaign, let loose a slip at the eleventh hour about immigrants that didn't go over well in this very conservative of House districts.

As for the gubernatorial primary, Phil Angelides has 46.91% to Steve Westley's 43.73% with only 19% of precincts reporting. It was an ugly, ugly campaign where two candidates with identical platforms sniped at each other's ugly ties to lobbyists and big money, which only convinced everyone that both candidates are involved with lobbyists and big money.

Still, whoever wins has the summer to repair their image before facing Ahnuld.


Jon just gave his victory speech, and the atmosphere was electric. Tester supporters were jammed shoulder-to-shoulder, screaming, yelling, high-fiving, flashing the victory signs.

I'm not going to bother trying to repeat what he said, I'm only going to emphasize what I thought was important. First, he noted that he won the race even though he was outpent. (Raucous cheering.) This was a grassroots campaign. Tester represents the working- and middle-class families and small businesses, and he says his campaign represents regular Montanans.

The campaign slogan: "We'll make Washington DC look a lot like Montana."


The numbers. With 57.67% of precincts reporting, Tester's at 60.62%, Morrison 36.00%.

I'm stunned. I thought it would be close. This thing is not close. I'm sure in the coming days and weeks as the summer campaign winds down, pundits and experts and media people are going to analyze this race to death. The fact is, is that Tester's honest and competent. He's a farmer, not a lawyer or millionaire. People like him and trust him. And they should.

Montana gave the country Mike Mansfield, who set the standard for the quality of statesmen that Montana can produce. Now there's Jon Tester.

Conrad Burns is no Mike Mansfield. He's disgraced Montana and the reputation of its Senate seat.

Conrad Burns, meet your 2006 opponent.


Morrison is giving his concession speech.

It's over.

With nearly 47% of precincts reporting, Tester is up 61.74% to 35.38%.

This thing is a rout, folks. All the poll numbers were way off. This is ridiculous. 


Let's talk about Yellowstone county for a moment. Yesterday (or was it today? I'm not linking, LitW is bogged down, folks) Matt said it was Morrison territory. So Morrison should win it, right?

The numbers?

With 56 of 69 precincts reporting, Morrison won 5,330 votes to Tester's 6,150.

No wonder Morrison's not showing up at campaign HQ.


Thirty-nine percent of precincts reporting, here are the overall numbers:

Tester – 31,805 61.87%

Morrison – 18,828 35.58%

Is it too early to be optimistic? 


Hill county: 127 Tester, 22 Morrison.

Gallitn: 352 Tester, 152 Morrison.

Flathead: 1,070 Tester, 964 Morrison.

Cascade: 4,779 Tester, 2,611 Morrison.

Lewis & Clark: 3,846 Tester, 1,209 Morrison.

The news flashes the number. Total votes, Tester up two-to-one. The crowd erupts.

Tester is being interviewed. Optimistic, cheery, positive. Still cautious. Meanwhile Morrison still hasn't showed up at his headquarters. He's bunkering. 


Some more numbers:

Ninety-seven of 100 precincts in Missoula county reporting have Tester up, 11,380 to 3,047.

Deer Lodge absentee ballots has Morrison up, 645 to 422.

Lake country absentee: 329 Tester, 221 Morrison.

Butte-Silverbow: 1,241 Morrison, 809 Tester.

It's packed right now, wall-to-wall people. It's hot. It's stuffy, but not out on the lawn. People are ecstatic, beaming. I'd definitely say the mood is upbeat.

I ran into Alex Taft of the Missoula County Dems. He joked about the “defense of marriage” amendment, saying it's a sure cure for the war in Iraq. We chatted about the race and the possible ramifications for Montana if Tester wins. We both agree: it'll be a madhouse. It'll also be a chance to show the nation how you win a campaign with open, clear stances on issues, like the war.

He brought up Schweitzer, admiring his recent candor about the war being about oil, and that we should be up front about it. If people don't like fighting for oil, they can use less.


Some early returns for absentee votes (hold on to your hats, folks):

Missoula country: 73.5% for Tester.

Ravalli county: 67.8% for Tester.

Breaking news! Sixteen of 69 precincts reporting for Yellowstone County shows that Tester has pulled slightly ahead by a dozen votes!


Ran into Paul Richards and had a nice chat. He looks great, slightly tanned and a little tired. He leans in close when you talk, great smile.

I told Richards I had urged him to drop out – he thought that was hilarious. Funny stuff. He was surprised at the quick reaction to his news, he had hoped on milking the news for a couple of days. Of course, the blog was chatting about the announcement before it ever happened, maybe hurried things a bit, got all the news sources ready to drop everything and spread the news.

Apparently it's been a rough financial stretch for Richards; he dropped work to campaign for the Senate seat and get his message out. It's back to work for the erstwhile candidate. In any case, he's excited and fully supporting the Big Sandy farmer.

Thanks for running, Paul.


Live blogging from Tester HQ in Missoula!

I'm sitting here with Left in the West's V, taking in the atmosphere. It's a sunny, pleasant evening and the crowd is already spilling out of the room here at the Holliday Inn – Parkside. The mood is upbeat, Jon's in fine form, working the crowd.

Some early returns: According to V, Yellowstone County is falling to Morrison, 52-44. Actually, that's not a bad return for Tester, considering it's supposed to be a Morrison county.

Three-to-one in Lewis and Clark County on absentee votes, is buzz on the floor! Great news! I was actually a little worried that the state's easy absentee voting would favor Morrison in this race, because Tester's momentum really only got going the past couple of weeks…

I'll keep you posted…


  1. I have a direct link for latest results over on Liberal wacko…

  2. Call it!
    Call it!
    Call it!


  3. I”m not allowed to, Pogie! PS – I put in a good word for you. I’ve been telling everyone you turned the race…

  4. Nice. Credit where credit is due. :)

  5. Thank for the updates! If you can find it, I would love to see that concession speech. Have fun in Missoula.

  6. We are excited and supportive here in the Flathead and you can be sure we are behind Tester 100%

    I am sure that John Morrison and his beautiful family will come through this to something better than they ever dreamed. In the meantime, please try to remember the contributions his family has made to this state and to be respectful towards them.

    Save your energy for the whopping pile of lies the Burns campaign is sure to roll out any time now.

  7. Thanks, Granny!

    Morrison? Who’s that?

    Seriously, this is probably the best thing that could have happened to him. I think he seriously needs to get his sh*t together. I think he needs to put a temporary curb on his ambition and pull himself together.

    I will say this about Morrison — I liked what he had to say, and I liked how he held himself as a candidate. I wish him well.

    I had some nice chats with Richards, Granny! He is a good guy. Did you see I told him I asked him to drop out? He was a great sport about it, thought it was funny.

  8. I was surprised that Bill Kennedy couldn’t deliver Yellowstone County to his boy, Morrison.

    Good coverage.

  9. Mark T

    Interesting – just catching a whiff of this. This Tester fella might have some charisma going for him. He might catch on. I hope, as with Schweitzer, that there’s bean under shell.

  10. Thanks, Eric. I had fun, too!

  1. 1 Intelligent Discontent » Blog Archive » Two Percent of the Precints In


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