Republican bloggers, hierarchy running for legislature

by Pete Talbot

I’m probably the last person Will Deschamps would tip his hand to, so it comes as no surprise that even though he swore to me at the Montana Republican caucus that he wasn’t running for the legislature again, he’s filed for House District 98.

Deschamps is chairman of the Missoula County Republicans and, I believe, this is his third run at this seat (currently held by Holly Raser, who is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction). His only competition to date is Democrat Sue Malek. Malek served on Missoula’s last City Government Review Commission, so you know she can deal with contentious issues.

Another party officer, Second Vice Chairwoman Carol Minjares, has filed for House District 97. She lists a website on her filing form and lo and behold, it links to Missoulapolis, Minjares’ conservative blog site. (Where’s that PayPal contribution link, Carol?)

I also met Carol at the last month’s Republican caucus and she was nothing but gracious. And although we’re diametrically opposed on most issues, I do like her posts on the real estate market in Missoula, which are often accompanied by pictures.

She happens to be running against one of my favorite legislators, incumbent Democrat Michele Reinhart. Reinhart is a young, sharp woman with a background in planning and growth issues. To me, she represents the future of the Montana Legislature.

Michele has a primary opponent in James Boone. Here’s what Michele told me about Mr. Boone:

“James Boone is passionate about the working poor, the mentally ill, and the rights of mobile home owners. He works two jobs, one at Michaels and one at a trucking distribution company. He has nothing against me and did not really even know who I was until I met with him. He just felt the need to file.

Boone’s issues are important ones and Lord knows they need representation in Helena. Thing is, they’re also Michele’s issues, along with a slew of other concerns she has about Montana’s environment, economy and disenfranchised people.

Another Republican, Steve Eschenbacher (try fitting that last name on a yard sign), also lists a website. Turns out that Steve is the author of Missoula’s other conservative blog, Rabid Sanity. (There used to be three conservative Missoula blogs but I haven’t seen anything from Scoop Montana since last fall’s municipal elections.)

Eschenbacher is running in House District 96 against incumbent Democrat Teresa Henry, who also happens to be one of my favorite Missoula area legislators (actually, I’m pretty thrilled with all the Missoula area legislators, except for that Nooney guy in House District 100 — more on him in upcoming posts).

Here are the websites of other Missoula candidates, as they appear on the Montana Secretary of State’s Internet site:

Democrat Carol Williams is the sole candidate, to date, for Senate District 46: Williamsformontana.com

Democrat Ron Erickson is running against Democrat Rosie Buzzas in Senate District 47: Ronfor47.com (No Republican has filed as of yet.)

Democrat Dustin Hankinson is running in the primary against incumbent Tim Furey in House District 91: Dustinforhouse08.com (No Republican there yet, either)

Democrat Dick Barrett is running in House District 93: Barrettforhd93.com (Republican Steve Dogiakos has also filed.)

Republican incumbent Bill Nooney will face one of two Democrats that have filed in House District 100: Billnooney4hd100.com Strange. I just tried to go to this site and it said: “Forbidden. You don’t have permission to access on this server.” Does this apply to just me or to everyone except Bill Nooney insiders?”

There’s less than a week to go until the March 20 filing deadline. If there’s a flurry of new filings at the end, or any other keen candidate insights, 4&20 will let you know. We’ll be keeping a particularly close eye on Nooney’s race over in HD 100.


  1. Nooney just doesn’t have his site configured, or set up. This isn’t going to look good for him when I do a candidate site review on him.




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