by Pete Talbot

Filing deadline isn’t until March 15 at 5 p.m. but there are already some interesting developments in Missoula area races.

First, a little flip-flop. Democratic Rep. Teresa Henry has filed for termed-out Democratic Sen. Carolyn Squires’ seat (SD 48). And Ms. Squires has filed for Ms. Henry’s house seat (HD 96). Teresa still had two years before she was termed out in her old house seat, so this is an unusual move. Adding to the mix is veteran Democratic legislator Tom Facey, who’s challenging Ms. Henry in the primary. No Republican has filed for SD 48 yet.

The only other senate seat up for grabs out of five in the Missoula area is SD 49. The incumbent Democrat, Sen. Dave Wanzenried, hasn’t filed, nor have any challengers.

Since they ran in 2008, SD 46’s Carol Williams, SD 47’s Ron Erickson and SD 50’s Cliff Larson — all Democrats — get a pass.

The Missoula area has ten Montana House districts, nine-out-of-ten are held by Democrats and they’re all on the 2010 ballot.

Democratic incumbent Tim Furey is the only one to file in HD 91. Same with Democratic incumbents Dick Barrett (HD 93), Diane Sands (HD 95), Michele Reinhart (HD 97) and Betsy Hands (HD 99).

There are some new faces on the landscape. Robin Hamilton, the incumbent in my district (HD 92) chose not to run again. Community organizer Bryce Bennett has filed and is actively campaigning. Another Democrat, Dean McGovern, head of UM’s Campus Compact, was vigorously exploring a run at this house seat earlier, but he hasn’t filed and I haven’t heard much from him lately. He does have a website up, though.

Then there’s Ellie Hill, a name synonymous with the Poverello Center and many other nonprofits. She’s the sole entry, and running as a Democrat, in HD 94. That’s Dave McAlpin’s old seat but he’s now the head of the state crime lab here in Missoula and he probably won’t get time off to run, or serve.

I’ve already mentioned Carolyn Squires in HD 96.

The only Republican to file in the Missoula area is Michael Sopuch in HD 98. This is incumbent Sue Malek’s seat but she hasn’t filed, yet. I couldn’t find a website for Sopuch. Indeed, the only reference I could find was testimony given by a Michael Sopuch of Cash King LTD, a title loan company. This was before the Montana Department of Administration about title loan company practices.

Finally, there’s HD 100. Democrat Willis Curdy has filed. He ran last time and lost to Incumbent Republican Bill Nooney by 79 votes. Nooney has yet to file but as Nooney’s arch-nemesis Bill Vaughn points out, Nooney has a lot on his plate these days (you’ll have to scroll down to the red sub-head that reads “Falling Down”).

By the way, here’s a map to show where these districts are. The primary election will be held Tuesday, June 8.

(I’m working on candidate website links.  Most are under construction or old, if I could find them at all.  Please contact me so I can update this and future posts with current website info.  Thanks.)

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  1. What did the Montana Department of Administration do with title loan company practices, Pete?

    • petetalbot

      Not too sure about the particulars, Rebecca. It was just a PDF with testimony from various title loan company owners and a lobbyist (Mark Staples). Had to do with some administrative changes to rules affecting title loan companies. The hearing was held in May, 2008.

  2. Pete, Thanks for summarizing the legislative races… local politics matters!
    Westridge is doing the campaign creative. The website should be up early next week.
    http://www.EllieHillforHD94.com
    Linda Frey filed for the Republicans last go ’round, and I assume she’ll get in again.
    Senator Ron Erickson (Missoula- D), whose Senate District includes HD94 has agreed to serve as my treasurer. We’re already working really hard: knocking doors, raising money.
    Let me know if you need anything or want to talk issues.
    Bryce and I are holding a joint fundraiser with Bob Wire in February. I’ll surely send the b’bird readers a virtual invitation.

  3. Thanks for the mention Pete.

  4. In that link to Dark Acres I saw where Vaughn lied about something I supposedly said about Bill Nooney. It was actually written by a commenter at my site.

    What else Vaughn conjures out of thin air?

  5. petetalbot

    Sorry to hear that the quote was wrongly attributed, Carol. I’ll forward your concern to Vaughn for his take on it.

    On the other hand, the other writing I’ve seen from Vaughn appears to be well researched and accurate.

    Plus, Vaughn quoting you as calling Nooney “a wise businessman” doesn’t seem too injurious to you.

  6. Sue Malek

    Hello Blackbirders! Time to kick off the campaign. Filed last week. Will begin fund raising this week. I am looking forward to visiting with folks on the doors soon. Lot’s of issues will face us next session. As you’ve seen in the news, already cuts are hurting human services. Time to begin the good work, everyone. It does take a community!




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