by Pete Talbot

One woman showed up sporting a newly inked Obama tattoo on her arm. She was one of many folks running for a delegate slot at the Missoula County Democratic Convention on Thursday night. Those who were elected at the county convention will be in Helena on Sunday to decide delegates for the national convention in Denver.

It used to be that Missoula couldn’t field enough delegates to go to the state convention. The local party could muster maybe nine or ten out of the twenty or so positions allocated to the county. Last night, roughly forty people battled for twenty spots to represent Barack Obama in Helena.

Hillary Clinton supporters were there, too. Ten delegates from Missoula will represent Clinton at the state convention.

Seventeen seats are up for grabs at the convention in Helena. (Montana will be sending a total of 25 delegates to Denver but eight are super delegates — folks like Schweitzer, Baucus, Melcher, etc.).

There wasn’t any media there last night that I noticed, which is too bad because it was a raucous caucus. All kinds of people were there pitching themselves for a chance to go to Helena and then, maybe, Denver.

I haven’t seen this kind of energy in the Montana Democratic Party in the nearly 20 years that I’ve been active in this state’s political scene.

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