Archive for November 9th, 2006

by Jay Stevens 

Senator Conrad Burns’ communications director, James Pendleton, has written an excellent and sincere personal concession-post. In it, Pendleton praises Conrad Burns’ service to the country and state the past 18 years, and comments on the man’s character and legislative history.

Pendleton also congratulates Jon on the victory, but laces his praise with a warning:

There are rightful celebrations this week among his supporters, and I can’t say I blame them. I would offer a word of caution though. This wasn’t like winning the Superbowl. This is more like having a baby. A celebratory event for sure, but the work is just beginning. To quote Conrad, it’s going to be like drinking from a firehose as he gets his legs under him. He has a good man in his stable in Bill Lombardi, with qualified Senate experience and a thoughtful and articulate way about him. I hope Jon draws from that. I also hope that he is able to maintain his intention of making the Senate look a little bit more like Montana. We would all benefit from that.

That said, he’s got a daunting task ahead of him, as the problem isn’t the individual member, but the collective machinery that is Congress. The institutionalized mentality of superegos, fiefdoms, and inherent laziness that panders to the extremes; inevitably creating milquetoast legislation that accomplishes little other than to expand government, abdicate responsibility, and waste tax dollars. It’s going to take more than a Mr. Smith to change this Washington, and he’s going to need to make some converts on both sides of the aisle, and both sides of the chamber in order to accomplish real change.

First off, I wish this had been the tone coming from the Burns’ camp all election cycle. It is thoughtful and reasoned and meaningful. I don’t want to kick any dogs while they’re down, but I will say Burns’ other communications man was not so…communicative. Certainly Tester’s camp had its share of blowhard statements: there’s blame enough to go around for the negative tenor of the election.

I guess I’m saying I found Pendleton’s piece moving. It’s an excellent tribute to, in my opinion, a compromised man, and tinged with the fire of experience in its blunt warning to Tester and his supporters.

Give it a well-deserved read.

Thanks, James.

by Jay Stevens 

Unfortunately on Election Night, Internet connectivity was down, and I was unable to bring you the feeling, color, and mood from Tester’s HQ in Great Falls. It was quite a party, and I would’ve had a good time if it weren’t for nerves and the late night. Before driving down, I had this fantasy of drinking whiskey and chewing on a victory stogie with Jon and the gang at about 3am long after the results rolled in and the photobugs had gone.

It didn’t happen.

Instead, at 3am, I was in my underwear in my hotel room writing a “color” piece for the Missoula Independent, which they didn’t take. The outcome was still in doubt, I was exhausted and sober, Jon and the gang were still holed up in their rooms, working the phones, watching the numbers roll by on the television screen, looking very nervous.

Anyhow, I wrote a piece for the American Prospect, and lo! it made it to the main web page: “Tester Case.” It catches some of the mood of the party and the import of Jon’s victory. Naturally I give us bloggers props:

…a Tester victory in Montana would, outside of a Ned Lamont triumph in Connecticut, be the strongest indication yet that a progressive grass- and netroots movement could actually propel a candidate into a federal-level office. Tester was supposed to be the also-ran in the primary, outspent substantially by the DC leadership favorite John Morrison, but he won the election by twenty-five points in no small part because of the publicity and more than $100,000 in on-line donations they brought to his campaign. And grassroots organizations urged on by blogs proved to be crucial this past Tuesday.

Burns really didn’t have any net support to speak of, and while I think the blogs and their fundraising efforts helped Jon out more in the primary, I think we did help whip up a frenzy in the cities. And like Matt said, Tester may have won on huge turnout in the state’s urban areas.

Forget for a moment the self-obsessed elements of this post and consider: you can’t manufacture blog support. It just happens. Tester had a large number of blogs popping up like mushrooms here in the state, all of them written by everyday folks with little or no connection to Tester’s staff, and all of them earnestly backing his campaign. That only happens when there’s a good candidate and a cause to fight for.

But don’t worry, that’s the only time I mention blogs in the d*mn article. You can skip over that paragraph and read my impressions of the night and race.

by Matt Singer
We’ve got some close races on our hand:

GOP Leading:

  • HD1: Ralph Heinert (R) leads Eileen Carney (D) 1,594 to 1,576 (18 votes)
  • HD8: Craig Witte (R) leads Randy Kenyon (D) 1,546 to 1,501 (45 votes)
  • HD58: Krayton Kerns (R) leads Emelie Kay Eaton (D) 1,971 to 1,967 (4 votes)
  • HD78: Scott Mendenhall (R) leads Sheila Hogan (D) 2,408 to 2,387 (21 votes)

Dem Leading:

  • PSC5: Ken Toole (D) leads Mike Taylor (R) 39,876 to 39,823 (53 votes)
  • HD63: JP Pomnichowski (D) leads Bill Warden (R) 2,739 to 2,692 (47 votes)

HD1, HD58, HD78 and PSC5 are all close enough that  recounts may shake things up. In the meantime, the Montana Senate is tied — 25-25 — and there may be some weird Gary Matthews-style maneuvering in the race for the President. My gut says it won’t work, though (Matthews gambit worked because moderate Republican Mark Noennig helped orchestrate it; the GOP has since worked to purge Noennig-style members). The House is 50 GOP, 49 Dem, and 1 Constitution. Assuming that Rick Jore caucuses with the GOP, they have the majority, unless a single recount flips one of the House seats. If that occurs, the Dems are positioned for the Speakership.

by Matt Singer
Duane Winslow, the Yellowstone County elections administrator, is getting national play for his handling of some election night issues. He’s getting good coverage, which he deserves. He made a minor mistake (as we all so often do), admitted it, and got back to doing his job. Apparently, that’s a rare thing. That’s too bad. But Duane deserves positive coverage. I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting him in person once to the best of my memory — primary night this year. But I’ve spoken on the phone with him several more times and witnessed Yellowstone’s election operations — always one of the best offices in the state.

So three cheers for Duane Winslow, a man who does his job very, very well.

Allen concedes

The Senate is ours.

 It’s over.


Maybe the best after-election post ever, an open letter to “dismayed conservatives”. “I hereby make these promises to you…” (Hat tip to Nicole.)

Kossak mcjoan and I shared the “blogger table” in Great Falls. Here’s her account.

Ochenski weighs in on the Tester victory.

Buzztail thanks Monica Lindeen for running in 2006 and urges her to consider an ’08 bid.

Courtney Lowrey tries to explain why Jon Tester won the election. (He had more votes?)

Yellowstone County Election Administrator Duane Winslow gets his due for his integrity in doing a recount at 1 am with the United State Senate on the line. No matter who you voted for, you have to admire him for making sure the count was right.

Let’s not forget that Howe Rich’s state initiatives were on other states’ ballots, most notably the regulatory-takings laws, like our CI 154. How did they do? Not so well: destroyed in Washington, California, and Idaho. That’s right, Idaho! That’s good news for Montana: it shows even if 154’s proponents manage to get it on the ballot, they’re probably see it go down in flames…

Pogie’s already putting the heat on the Democratic Congress.

Let’s welcome another pundit into the fold. New West’s David Frey noticed the emergence of the Western Democrat.

Congratulations to Dean’s 50-state strategy, a clear winner in this week’s election.

Kevin Drum argues that there should be no rift between the Netroots, DNC, DCCC, and DSCC. When they all work together, everybody wins.

And Steve Benen on “genius” Karl Rove. It is astounding how badly he lost, though. It couldn’t have been easy.

An “homage” to another GOP loser, Richard Pombo. Fare thee well, Dick, and don’t let the door hit you on the *ss as you exit Congress.

And guess who’s holding all the cards in the U.S. Senate? Joe Lieberman. He could derail this upcoming Congress. I suspect Connecticut will regret sending him back.

Kos on the 2006 Senate map and the 2008 prospects. Personally I’m waiting until at least after the weekend before I consider the next election.

The Pat Tillman shooting gets weird.

Olbermann’s memorable election night moments includes one of Jon Tester smiling with relief when he hears Butte’s votes haven’t been counted yet…

Steven Colbert brings NY 19 victor, John Hall, back on the show. Plus a pretty good rendition of the national anthem…

And, of course, Colbert’s reaction to Tuesday.

Burns Concedes

by Matt Singer 

It’s over.



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