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  •  Dean rocked Montana! (4.00)
    The 450 people attending the Saturday night dinner in Great Falls MT gave Dean a five minute long standing ovation when he walked into the room. It was wild. Dean responded with "Now if the presidential primaries had started with Montana rather than Iowa, things might be different."

    If there was anyone there that had any misgivings about having Dean in town at the convention, I didn't meet them. And they couldn't help but be impressed by the enthusiastic welcome that Howard got from the grassroots. I can't emphasize this too much; there were around 300 demo delegates at the state convention and an additional 150 people (including myself) came over just to hear Dean.  Montanan's don't sacrifice beautiful summer days on weekends easily just to hear some politico talk indoors, so this was a HUGE crowd for this time of year.

    Dean flew into Great Falls in early afternoon on Saturday, and met privately with democratic leaders at the state demo convention before attending a Sponser's Reception at 5PM where about one hundred folks (including Mrs. Ed in Montana and myself) ponied up $125 a ticket to meet the chairman. Dean gave a short speech standing on a chair saying such great jems as 'We are not going to lay down and play dead for the right wing anymore!"  After shaking hands with these supporters for about an hour, Dean proceeded over to the banquet hall where he got the first of many standing ovations.

    Aside from Dean's now standard barn burner speech (which I had never heard up close in person before) the crowd loved his approach of hiring 3 or 4 field workers in Montana "financed by us, chosen by you," as he said. Dean also mentioned that this was a result of a "needs assessment team" visiting Montana, and asking Montana democrats what resources they needed to win more races. Imagine that, the DNC actually asking dems in red states what they need to win! Also it appears that the DSCC and the DCCC committees will target the Montana Senate and House races next year.

    Thst's the way you win back the West, with outspoken plain talk and demo organizers on the ground.

    Photos to come in a diary later this evening.

    "Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?" Aldo Leopold

    by Ed in Montana on Mon Jul 18, 2005 at 07:56:59 AM PDT

    •  Videos available (none)
      Of Dean's Montana speech over at Democracy for Montana.

      Many thanks to fellow deaniac Scott Dowdle from Billings.

      "Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?" Aldo Leopold

      by Ed in Montana on Mon Jul 18, 2005 at 08:01:15 AM PDT

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    •  Montana dems (none)
      Had a bit of a controversy when the Schweitzer/Baucus endorsed candidate for state party chair Dennis McDonald said two weeks ago that "he wouldn't want to get his picture taken" with Howard Dean because of harsh comments Dean has made about republicans. Last week before the state democratic convention, McDonald reversed his statement and said that he would be glad to appear with Dean. Which is good because I have half a dozen pictures of him with our chairman Dean from Saturday's dinner

      Dennis McDonald was elected as the new state party chair last Saturday morning, replacing Bob Ream, who is retiring after doing an outstanding job for the last eight years. McDonald took two ballots to gain a majority of delegate votes, besting Tracy Velazquez from Bozeman (former congressional candidate), labor leader Gene Fenderson from Helena, and Ron Talbot from Missoula. In a surprizing move, MT dems rejected McDonald's running mate for vice chair, and voted in Tracy Velazquez in her place.

      Governor Schweitzer and Senator Baucus pushed McDonald as chair, citing his success at building a progressive rancher's organization and his ability to organize in rural Montana. Opponents cited McDonald's lack of experience with the democratic party in Montana, and Fenderson tweaked McDonald by distributing a photo showing Fenderson with Al Franken under the headline "I will appear with anyone that agrees with democratic values".

      In my opinion, McDonald should be a good state party chair as long as he realizes that ranchers are not the only demographic that need to be appealed to in Montana. That and that Howard Dean still speaks for me, and hundreds like me in the state democratic party.

      "Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?" Aldo Leopold

      by Ed in Montana on Mon Jul 18, 2005 at 09:25:12 AM PDT

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