by Pete Talbot

The federal deadline for the final campaign finance reports before the primary election was yesterday and there are some interesting numbers.

In the congressional contest, the far right and the far, far right did pretty well.

Of course, Republican incumbent Dennis Rehberg has an obscene amount of net receipts: $913,941.

Next up on the Republican side is Mark French at $58,068. That’s a nice chunk of change for a guy who makes Mussolini look progressive.

The moderate in this race, A.J. Otjen, raised $23,013.

On the Democratic side, Dennis McDonald has the highest net receipts but Tyler Gernant isn’t too far behind: McDonald, $167,716; Gernant, $124,565.

Sam Rankin of Billings made a showing at $8639.

Unfortunately, Melinda Gopher didn’t report, so she either didn’t raise the $5000 needed to require a report or she just didn’t report. Neither of these is a good sign for her campaign.

This is too bad. For a while there I was leaning toward Gopher but unfortunately a candidate needs more than passion and a progressive platform to take out the likes of Denny Rehberg.

Sam Rankin seems like a decent guy but like Gopher, his campaign lacks the organization it will take to give Rehberg a run.

Gernant seems to be gaining momentum while McDonald looks to be treading water. Add to that McDonald’s nebulous stand on coal development … well, unless something new breaks, I guess I’m leaning Gernant.

  1. Its not about the money, its the message. We have a real chance to change the direction of politics in Montana by voting in the Republican Primary. You can see what a few people can do with a candidate like Mark French. I have not even been asking for money and the word is spreading. Now is the time to bring the Republicans back to reason. Tyler is looking good and just might win the primary. But who wins the GOP primary is the biggest issue right now.

    • It takes more than just money to win in Montana…but sadly, it does take money.

      Organization, though, goes a long way – and that doesn’t take a whole lot of cash.

      One of the issues you face, A.J. – as I see it – is Rehberg’s failure to engage in the campaign. He’s afraid of the likes of you. It’s a shame that Republicans couldn’t have put together any candidates forums (unless I missed press on them? I’ve not seen anything in print that I can recall) in at least Helena, Billings and Kalispell to let the state’s Republicans know better of the choices they have.

  2. Don’t despair for lack of money, our efforts must focus on movement building, which is what I have spent my adult life doing. We have every reason to be optimistic, in fact for many years the Democratic Party has relied on the very operatus that I am now. The native vote is very mobilized, women are as well. They understand the uphill battle; what we lack in money–we make up for in initiative. This is how it has always been. Don’t be discouraged if there is not enough money, I’m not. The issue here is money for the post primary, we understand it takes money to take on Rehberg; we have focused on the messaging. We are working on a post primary plan for victory and will be getting that full bore by Tuesday.

    I feel I am the best suited to build the coalitions needed to make that happen–I chose to demonstrate my commitment by keeping this campaign strong on its message. We are encouraged by the support around the state–do NOT be discouraged re: lack of money. I am addressing this separately in a Press Statement, it is not for lack of trying.

    There are external circumstances that I feel an effort, or non-effort has purposely tried to disadvantage me for the very progressive ideals that I am defending and standing for. I will be addressing this also, preparing as statement for Tuesday, if not sooner….

    • Pete Talbot


      Please feel free to send any press releases our way. I’d be glad to add them to our commentary.


  3. Postscript: It is arguable that Gernant is gaining momentum. Both he and McDonald have looked pretty weak thus far–there is not much enthusiasm out there. On the other hand, what I lack in money–I have a pretty strong network statewide. These are the Obama loyalists; and they are moblizing and coming out.

    • Lizard

      it’s a gutsy move as a candidate to drop in on a blog, because you know you’re tossin’ yourself to the wolves.

      definitely a good way to drum up some interest in a forthcoming press statement.

      a point of clarification: who exactly are the “obama loyalists” and is it good or bad for you that “they are mobilizing and coming out?”

    • in the wilderness days we used to have a saying…..when you don’t have the money to beat them, it is time to protest loud enough so that the media notices you.

      i am supportive melinda, but when are you going to talk about the corruption of our senators and our congressman? when are you going to start pointing some fingers? tester with his banking buddies. baucus with his health insurance lobbyists and rehberg with his oil money…..when are you going to hit them hard on their weak votes for the people and their total obedience to special interests?

      time is running out if you want the people to follow you, you must give them something to believe in. we believe in no politicians anymore.

  4. Big Swede

    The more I think about it the more that this east vs. west, rural vs urban, new age vs old school donnybrook in the Dem primary only strengthens Denny’s numbers.

    In a contested race their are more losers, more voters less likely to show in Nov..

    • JC

      “new age”???

      Just what do you see as the new age contingent of the dem party that is involved in a “donnybrook”?

      • Big Swede

        New age=younger voters vs the old school conservative Dems who would rater cast their vote on someone closer to their age and wisdom.

        I think the primary voter totals will back me up.

    • East v. West? For months now, the Billings Gazette’s comment section has nary a pro-McDonald comment and few if any LTE’s. If he can’t raise more money than Gernant and he can’t get a bunch of support out of the newspaper readers in the BG, McDonald has problems.

      Again, I repeat – you Repubs would love to have McDonald win the primary, but Dems around the state are realizing that putting him on the ticket would be problematic.

      “In a contested race”? What’s that gonna mean for Rehberg? His race is contested too.

  5. Hi folks:

    I posted on my campaign blog, what I hope will be published in the Huffington Post–on my dust up with Emily’s List. The gist of it is, I had been trying to get this important organization to support me, I believe there is a coordinated effort to freeze me out–Emily’s List has been implicated in an effort to run Colleen Hanabusa out in Hawaii. Emily’s List has since dropped their failed strategy there. I thought this group was out for women, not use it as a tool to chase women out of the electoral process.

    I intend to keep giving Schriock a “Hill 57 ass-kicking,” due to her underhanded efforts to disadvantage me in this race. I will continue to do what I feel is necessary. It may be of interest I spoke with a longtime veteran of the Montana News Association last night; in his half century of reporting, he says he’s never seen a race like this–it is anyone’s to win. I have much less money than my opponents, but I am running strong. Money is not the final determinant. I have to take issue with Tyler’s lack of seriousness in dealing with the tribal vote–as well as McDonald’s.

    • let down

      Oh please. I was so inspired by you when you first entered the race, and no one can deny your passion and intelligence, but lately all of your rhetoric is about people not being nice to you. It is awfully tiring. Maybe you should get off of blogs and start traveling the state and raising money. Serious campaigns are taken seriously.

    • WOW! This comment is disappointing. We face huge challenges in montana and nationally in surviving this depression and the peoples business in washington is stymied by corporate corruption and a corrupt congress and melinda obsesses about a dustup with emily’s list?

      Grousing is not leadership.

      • let down

        Well forgive me for disappointing you, when I am disappointed in a candidate I desperately want to support.

        Yes she may have barriers to deal with (which I understand) however she will never break through them just complaining. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just once in awhile, but every facebook update, blog post, or comment she makes is about being held back my someone.

        I want to hear about her ideas and her solutions. I want to see her in Billings. I want to see her in Kalispell. I want to see her in Butte.

        And I want to see her not making up stuff to complain about as she did with the Tyler MCV thing.

        Until those things happen, sadly she will not get my vote.

        • Big Swede

          Trouble in the ranks?

          Donnybrook brewing?

          • BS- people who reason often disagree.

            I know it is difficult for dittoheads to comprehend.

            • petetalbot

              “Donnybrook”? Compared to the Republican primary race, Swede, the Democratic contest is a lovefest.

              You’ve got French sniping at Rehberg because Denny isn’t conservative enough! You’ve got the right-wing of the party (which is most of the party) piling on Otjen because she’s actually a reasonable, moderate candidate … and on-and-on. Face it, Swede, Montana’s Republican Party is about as divided as a party can get.

              • Pogo Possum

                Actually Pete, with the exception of the obligatory newspaper candidate reviews, few people (Republican, Democratic or independent) have heard much of anything about French and Otjen. I have not heard one single Republican voter or party official mention any serious concern about a close GOP Primary or about dissension in the party.

                While we welcome both Mark and A.J. as candidates, the reality is that French and Otjen have raised few dollars, done little to spread their message, demonstrated no ability to be viable candidates in the General Election and have failed to find any significant following. The small number of GOP voters who vote for Otjen or French in the primary will vote for Rehberg in the General Election rather than vote for Jimmy The Weasel’s mob lawyer.

        • pb, I don’t think, was complaining about you. he was replying to Melinda.

    • Oh, come on. Enough. You hit the other post claiming Gernant (or I) speak to an endorsement. I didn’t – and neither did he…but MCV did send out a letter highlighting Gernant’s active policy talk – and tour of the state – touting clean sustainable energy and jobs.

      You complain about the “endorsement” and talk about how it is “shameless politicking” yet say you deserved the endorsement.

      Now you are doing the same to Emily’s List – you tweeted about how it is time for Emily’s List to come to your aid – and now you attack them.

      Here you are on here bad-mouthing Gernant. I’ve yet to speak ill of you, and I know Gernant has said nothing negative about you.

      Is this how you want to close out your primary campaign?

  6. let down. i was agreeing with you and replying to melinda. i have given up on her. she is beset by her own devils obviously. to lead one must stay above the fray so that she/he can prioritize and find solutions.

    i wish her well also and give melinda good marks for courage and passion. she just has her priorities all wrong. the people of this state and country are suffering from a leadership vaccum and corporate america is taking advantage of it.

    i thought melinda was the answer but apparently she is not.

    • let down

      Sorry PB my mistake… what I get for reading these things too early in the morning.

      Sad day for passionate candidates.

  7. Hello To Everyone!
    I just want to endorse Melinda Gopher on her Campaign race! I work with the Montana Native Voters out of Great Falls Montana!
    I am impressed by the tough position Melinda Gopher has put herself in. I would have to agree that Melinda Gophers platform is been the most positive assurance that Natives will not be forgotten.
    She has stood the line in the sand against aggression and shes supportive to issues of fairness.
    Its too bad others feel shes to tough?? Especially when it comes to using the race card? Whats great about this race is either way win or lose? and right now Winning she is doing.
    She builds the democratic party up! The party needs this woman and she is one of the most powerful natives in the country today!
    People don’t discount her yet! I have several thousand Natives following me and what I say is Vote for Melinda Gopher she will defeat Rehburg the other contenders will only give Rehburg another 2 years!
    6 more days to go!
    Go Melinda Go!

  8. Melinda Gopher

    The problem as I see it in Montana is the native vote has been taken for granted for so long–that MT democrat politicians don’t know any other way to be. In Browning, there is 70% unemployment—imagine Missoula like that, for a minute. There is profound neglect, so much so that the Democrats need leadership that will address the entirety of state constituents. Schriock had a chance to make a difference in this race–she choose to cool her heels; for what good reason? She is getting no free pass by me; she played into the very male power trips women pay her to defy.

    The moderate wing of the Republicans if it ever comes back; could very well be these same native voters fed up and disgusted with the Democratic game-playing thats been going on for years, if not decades.

    • melinda- the entire nation will be at 70% unemployment if we don’t start getting our priorities right. i agree that browning has been ignored too long. it is a great area with very great people. but what this entire nation needs now and badly is leadership that inspires people.

      when you go off on a tangent about some nobody it seems like you have diverted yourself from what is important. go to the summit and take another look around at all that you can see.

      i thought you were the one person we could depend on to lead montana and this nation out of our collective blindness, but the blind cannot lead the blind. get your sight back and ignore the small people who do not matter.

      the fate of this country depends on brave people who are willing to do the right things against evil people who cheapen themselves for power and money. the people are losing this battle and when you become diverted from this vision we become leaderless. that is an awesome responsibility to lay on your shoulders, i know. but right now it is yours to bear. you have the passion to lead us but you also have the passion to go crazy over things that should not and do not really matter. until you regain the vision many of us thought you had to bring reason and fairness to our government, i for one cannot support you.

      until then be well and be happy regardless.

  1. 1 Can’t Stop Till You Get Enough… of Dennis Rehberg « 4&20 blackbirds

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