by Pete Talbot

Here’s a new election strategy: don’t campaign. It worked for John Driscoll, who raised no money and did no campaigning and beat odds-on favorite Jim Hunt in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House.

Then there’s the Bob Kelleher win in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Granted, Kelleher did some campaigning (I saw a couple newspaper ads) but still, that had to send shock waves through the Montana Republican establishment. Bob Kelleher! He has run for almost every elected office under almost every conceivable party banner. And check out those eyebrows.

Closer to home, the Missoula County Commissioner race isn’t over yet. Dennis Daneke is ahead by four votes. He campaigned hard. The third place finisher, Jeff Patterson, also campaigned. But I saw nothing from the second place finisher, Michele Landquist — and she could be the winner after the final canvass next Tuesday.

You can go here for Missoula County results and here for the statewide totals.

A couple of other surprises, for me anyway: I thought Mike Wheat would take the attorney general Democratic primary. But Steve Bullock won it with around 9000 more votes, statewide.

In Senate District 7, Democratic candidate Paul Clark went to bed trailing Judy Stang. In the morning, though, he was up by 166 votes and will face Greg Hinkle in the general.

Some folks were surprised that Willis Curdy, a high school teacher and Democratic candidate in House District 100, lost to Gary Brown. Brown did a serious get-out-the-vote effort in the final days of the campaign to win 722-654.

Not as surprising was Denise Juneau’s strong finish. She beat her closest rival, Holly Raser, in Raser’s home county of Missoula (by only 140 votes, but still … ). Statewide Juneau received 18,130 more votes than Raser.

The Republicans stayed away in droves. My unofficial statewide count is 181,906 Democrats casting ballots and 95,252 Republicans.

Did Republicans cross over to vote in the Democratic primary? Local blogger Andy Hammond, at Rush Limbaugh’s request, was urging Republicans to do just that and to vote to keep Hillary Clinton running as long as possible so the the Democratic Party would stay splintered and in disarray. Since Barack Obama beat Clinton 102,544 to 75,053 statewide (16,423 to 8084 in Missoula County), I guess that strategy didn’t work.

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  1. Jim Lang

    It was a tough choice in HD 100 – I would have been happy with either candidate representing me. I voted for Brown for the simple reason that he worked harder for my vote. I never heard from Curdy. But Brown – not only did I get snail mail, but he personally called my house on election eve (unfortunately, I was out). And he posted here on 4&20 AND responded to my question. I’ve lived in this district for ten years and I’ve never had a Democrat representing me in the House – what I’m looking for is someone who is gonna fight to win, and that’s what Gary Brown showed me he’s willing and able to do.

    This race, and the County Commissioner’s race, are the ones we Democrats need to win this year, imho. I urge you Democrats to get involved with one of these campaigns.

  2. Poor Andy Hammond. I heard he made his own little “Mission Accomplished” banner and suspiciously well-padded flight suit to celebrate his victory and everything.




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