Rehberg is challenged, 2010

by Pete Talbot

(The “2010” was added to the headline because I’ve used “Rehberg is challenged” before — I kinda like the double entendre.)

Montana Democratic Party Chairman Dennis McDonald has filed papers with the intent of challenging Rep. Dennis Rehberg next year. Now Dennis v. Dennis might be confusing to some but keep in mind that Rep. Rehberg always goes by “Denny.”

This could be a real race, compared to the “challenge” put forward by John Driscoll in the 2008 contest. McDonald is a bona fide candidate: he can raise money, has the backing of the big dogs (Schweitzer and Baucus) and has toured the state and made plenty of contacts in his job as party chair.

I’m not endorsing McDonald. It’s still early and other people could file. But I like the fact that he’s getting out early and throwing down the gauntlet.

And I personally like McDonald. This might surprise some folks because I ran against him for state party chair in 2005. Got my butt kicked, too.

Sure, I wish he was a little further left, but then I wish that for just about everyone.

I do hope that if McDonald is elected he votes more like Tester than Baucus.

Anyone would be better than Rehberg, though. He’s a George W. Bush clone: a pro-war, pro-privatization, anti-choice, anti-stimulus package, anti-environment, anti-health care … well you get the idea.

  1. Nick D

    I was giving today a low rating until I read this news. Thanks Pete!

  2. HAH! Beat you by a day, Pete. Though I will not yet call this an endorsement, I’m pretty jazzed about McDonald entering the race. Despite all talk of him being moderate or somewhat offensive to liberal/progressive sensibilities, I still want him to take down Rehburg (mostly because I don’t clearly see anyone else who can right now).

    This is the long and short of it. Take a look at the recent House vote and it should become clear that this is more than just getting Denny out. It’s a strike against the unified behemoth that is the Republican voting block. Yes, I know they are not in power (at all) in the House. But Obama and many others still take them seriously with talk of bipartisanship and compromise when they have no intention at all of reciprocating. Reduce the number of republican Reps below one hundred, and I guarantee such talk will simply vaporize. As long as the House Republicans stick to partisan foolishness, then job one is to show any who would listen how impotent they really are.

    And if moderate Democrats, like Dennis McDonald, become the loyal opposition, then I’m all for it. At that point, the conflict will be about issues, and not party.

  3. Big Swede

    Since the election in 2002 to 2008 Denny has beaten his opponents by getting 63% average of the vote. In a state of approx. 10% more D’s to R’s means that turncoats D’s may approach 15 to 20%. Even with “partisan foolishness” Denny popularity rings with the majority.

    So now you think a moderate has a chance. If a moderate alines himself with an institution, institutions win. The moderate can’t even get traction with, “he’s against the children”.

    I wish Mr, McDonald luck. Beating Denny in good times will be tough, but winning when your party stimulus plan resulted in more hardships, would be an impossibility.

  4. Swede, that’s probably the most rational, to the point and thoughtful comment you’ve ever left at this website (or many others). Good on ya.

    And, as I said at my place, Game on.

  5. Pronghorn

    McDonald is every bit as extreme as Rehberg where bison politics are concerned. He was president of the Montana Cattlemen’s Assoc. and is a founder of R-CALF (Ranchers & Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, opposing Canadian beef imports among other things). He has called for the eradication of brucellosis (read: the elimination of wildlife) and has said that Yellowstone, and I quote, should be “managed like a ranch.” I always figured he was the influence behind the continuing shameful bison mismanagement policies of the Schweitzer admin. He’s someone I could not vote for in good conscience.

  6. Denny Rheberg


    Denny Rheberg here, with a simple message for all you progressives, and Dennis McDonald. It’s not yellowstone county, my mountains of political capital, or my skills as a politician that will beat you buddy… It’s my mustache.

    That’s right, this mustache of mine will win over Dennis McDonald’s ten-gallon hat any day because it symbolizes cops, camaros, and colt 45 revolvers. Montanans, especially the lonely housewife types, will never vote against these things. Even if I am just another fifth-generation Montana subdivider…

    Better get to growin some fuzz Dennis.

    Gotta get back to my goats, take care.

    Your buddy, Denny Rheberg.

  7. are you going to spam every possible place you can with that comment, or what?


  8. klemz

    way to fight jerk with jerk!

  9. Jim Lang

    With all due respect to past candidates, Rehberg has not really faced serious opposition in the majority of his races. This should be interesting.

  10. klemz

    Not you, jacksonhighway, I was referring to McDonald, but then I realized not everyone got his annoying ass emails throughout the last election season.

    How would I describe them? Annoying.

  11. Lizard

    Local stuff is fun, to be sure, with Denny’s fag joke gift basket shenanigans, but at least he’s not the repub secretary of commerce, right?

    Like Judd Gregg? Seriously?

    Instead of reaching across the isle, maybe there should be a little principled punching.


  12. 10% more Ds than Rs? Really?

    Every polling I’ve seen has Rs outnumber Ds by at least four or five percent. Independents swing for Democrats generally in recent elections.

    Honestly, Big Swede, where are you getting those numbers?

  13. Elanor DH

    I’m really pumped for D-Mac, but they’re going to shove this fancy-out-of-state-california-attorney stuff in his face, and it will hurt him everywhere but Missoula.

    Perhaps the roster of donors to the BOOT PAC will offer some fodder for the opposition. Lots of California addresses there with big numbers next to them.

  14. anyone paying attention could see mcdonald jockeying for position for this move a long time ago. he has a lot of time but time does not make up for his short-comings. someone like tester would be much more of a threat to rehberg. someone from central/eastern montana who is more in touch with real life….

  15. JC

    “Rehberg is Challenged… I kinda like the double entendre”

    You could entitle your next article:

    Denny’s or McDonald’s. Who’s ideas better to lead?”

  16. petetalbot

    “Denny’s or McDonald’s. Who’s ideas better to lead?”

    Not bad, JC. Not bad at all.

  17. Tana Man

    JC, as someone with a very well-developed palate for political humor, I have to tell you that shit is genius. Genius. Well played.

  18. JC

    Thanks guys. But the occasional grammarian in me needs to be humbled by a self-correction:

    “Denny’s or McDonald’s. Whose ideas better to lead?”

    Pete, I gave you an opening for some revenge. ;-) What happened? And thanks to whomever corrected my typo in the original!

  19. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and
    now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same
    comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Thank you!

  1. 1 Way better than Rehberg « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] the hurdles ahead.” He’d most likely be taking on Montana Democratic Party Chairman Dennis McDonald, among others, in the primary. Some of the big dogs, like Schweitzer and Baucus, have advanced […]

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