Way better than Rehberg

by Pete Talbot

Meet Tyler Gernant, potential Denny Rehberg opponent.

First he has to file (he has an exploratory committee now) then he has to win the primary, then he’d face Rehberg in November, 2010.

But hats off to anyone who gets out early, does the background work and then takes a shot at Denny.

Over coffee at Bernice’s, Tyler said he “has no illusions about 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 McDonald’s candidacy all along, so Tyler would have a battle on his hands.

Gernant is 26 and a lawyer living in Missoula — potentially a lethal resume for a statewide candidate — but stranger things have happened. A political neophyte by the name of Brian Schweitzer almost took out three-term Senator Conrad Burns in 2000 (and that was before the Abramoff scandal).

And Tyler has roots in Eastern Montana; his grandfather homesteaded in Whitetail, which is about as far east (and north) as you can get and still be in Montana.

When asked why he didn’t start off with slightly smaller goals, like the state legislature or a Tier B statewide position, Gernant said this is a “perfect time” to run for congress and that federal issues are what pique his interest.

Gernant is politically savvy, having interned for Sen. Baucus and two congressmen, and worked on Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign.

He plays the young card well. He says he’ll “bring fresh ideas” and a “different way of doing politics.” He’ll tap into the “netroots … which is a natural consistency” (a strategy that has been effective in recent campaigns).

Although he counts progressives and populists among supporters, the issues he raises are more mainstream: tax reform, deficit reduction, rural revitalization and energy.

Rehberg (I know, I’ve said it before) should be vulnerable. He basically voted the Bush agenda for the last eight years; including the free trade, free market, deregulation, privatization and voodoo economics that helped get us into our current economic mess. But then he votes against the stimulus package. What a guy.

Can you name any important legislation that Rehberg has offered and has passed congress in the four terms he’s been in office? I didn’t think so.

It’s been awhile since Rehberg had a serious challenger. He deserves one this next time out.

Tyler says he’s going on a tour — “testing the waters” in Eastern Montana and cities like Great Falls, Helena and Billings. He also says he’s putting the final touches on a website and some position papers. We’ll keep you posted.

Please note, it’s too early to be making endorsements. I’m just glad folks are lining up against Rehberg.

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Tyler, if you’re reading this forum, you must clearly understand how Schweitzer nearly unhorsed ol’ Sen. Corndog Buns. Schweitzer, a nobody that nobody had ever heard of, came out swinging! He went right after Corndog from the gitgo. I know. I was there. At his very first appearance where he declared his candidacy. At the grain elevator here in GF. And after he was done there, Brian and we three or four of his supporters went up to the TV station where he did an interview for the nightly news. It was wonderful! He took the fight immediately to Buns about his racist statements regarding Muslims, who also just happen to be our trading partners for wheat. Those of us in attendance knew that we were witnessing something very, very special here, a Dem with the nuts to fight back, and not only fight back, but take the offensive! And not only take the offensive, but relish the combat! And ya know what? Schweitzer has never stopped. The other thing about Brian is that he is real. What you see is what you get. And he speaks from the heart. And guess what. That’s what people want. People can spot a phony a mile away. Now, I don’t know if you’re the man that Schweitzer is, but if you are, take the fight to Dopey Rehburp. Like a boxer in the ring, don’t let the bastard breathe! Hit him in the ribs and never let up! Keep him on the defensive. And here’s how you do it. Debate that moron. Dopey’s NOT a real bright fellow. He’s also a terrible bully. And you, with your law degree, sound like a bright fellow. Make Dopey look like the idiot bully he is at every chance you get. Put him on the defensive for his support of all things Repugly. The American people and even most Montanans are tired of their crap. Do this, and you’ve got a good chance.

  1. 1 Insider vs. Outsider: Who’ll bloody Rehberg? « Politics, Peaks, and Valleys

    […] him from last month; Here’s a quasi-announcemet on Missoula political blog Leftinthewest; and here’s a piece Pete Talbot did on him at 4and20blackbirds, a Missoula community/politics […]

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