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View Diary: Dems win at AAA level (177 comments)

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  •  It's probably the last thing you want to hear (4.00)
    but one of the reasons that Schweitzer won is that he picked a moderate Republican as his running mate. A major part of his campaign was his pledge to work in a non-partisan manner towards solutions. In contrast, his opponent Brown was heavily tarred by his long tenure in what is generally viewed as a failed Republican legislature. Plus, Schweitzer never really stopped running after he lost his Senate race he just switched to running for Governor. This allowed him to lock up solid Democratic support early, so he was free to hunt for the Republican votes he needed to win. In a broader sense, though, it's just a case of the pendulum swinging back, the Repubs have been in charge here for quite a long time, and it's been disastrous for Montana. The energy deregulation debacle alone has probably damaged their reputation for a generation. Eventually the people want to throw the bums out.
    •  Dems took over a red state almost entirely (4.00)
      In Montana this Tuesday. Every state government office, except the secretary of state plus the state senate. I don't know all the factors that went into this major, major realignment, but here's a few items:

      1) Governor elect Brian Schwietzer's campaign:
      a) Brian never stopped running from his U.S. Senate loss in 2000.
      b) Brian never stopped fundraising since his U.S. Senate loss.
      c) Brian has been very innovative with economic devlopment ideas and choosing a moderate republican as his lieutenant governor, State Senator John Bohlinger
      d) Montanan's were sick of 16 years of repub control.

      The Montana Democratic Party:
      a) Is very well organized
      b) Is constantly recruiting new candiates for legislature, as old ones are term-limited out. Dems run in every single race, while repubs have had a hard time filling slots.
      c) Democrat legislative incumbents have not lost a race since 1996, while the dem challengers have been knocking off repubs slowly but surely.

      And the real big point: democrats managed to control redistricting for state legislative districts in 2002, and broke the urban/suburban/rural stranglehold that the old districts enforced.  I'm still not clear how this took place, other than that we had two crafty democrats and a moderate native american on the five person redistricting commission.

      AS far as message is concerned, I am not sure of the overall dem message, but the repubs stupidly kept on saying "re-elect me and we will keep repairing the damage done by the democrats when they last controlled the state in the 1980s".  That message doesn't work anymore.

      There's more in my diaries
      here.

      Another Hunter Thompson Deanocrat

      by Ed in Montana on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 12:55:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How red is Montana really? (none)
        Seriously.  Back in the United Mine Workers' heyday, it had a strong union presence.  Old timers remember that.  As recently as 1992 it gave its electoral votes to Clinton.  And it seems to attract a more progressive type of out of stater (the wingers move to Idaho).  I know the R's have been strong in the state government for awhile, but I've always thought calling Montana deep red is not accurate.
        •  Good point (none)
          Montana was very progressive in the 1970s when I moved here, with great statesman such as Senate majority leader Mike Mansfiled and Senator Lee Metcalf. In the 1980s, Congressman Pat Williams was an unabashed liberal, environmentalist and defender of civil liberties.  

          Several things have changed since the early 1980s. Union jobs, both at mines and lumber mills all but dissappeared, along with their support of democratic candidates. Eco-liberals, such as myself, stopped moving here as the job market slowed to a standstill. Well-to-do conservatives flooded the state from the west coast, fleeing higher taxes and in many cases, Asian and Latino emigrants as well.  There is definite racist undertone in many cases. Huge "starter castles" began appearing across what was formerly private ranchlands.

          Conservative cranks began making alliances with displaced mill workers charging that liberal ecofreaks had stolen their jobs. Much of the rightwing lurch can be attributed to newly arrived conservative cheerleaders.

          That's why this election is so amazing.  Can the new democratic majorities provide new leadership that will reverse the rightward slide of Montana politics?  We are sure as hell going to try our best.

          Another Hunter Thompson Deanocrat

          by Ed in Montana on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 05:00:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Really? (none)
      How interesting. I have never known a lot about the governor-lieutenant governor relationship in any state. I always assumed people were from the same party.

      "But Democrats mustn't give up the fight. What's at stake isn't just the fate of their party, but the fate of America as we know it."-Paul Krugman

      by theprogressivemiddle on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 03:58:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know about other states (none)
        but here in California, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately. So right now we have Arnold and Bustamante. I don't like either of them, but at least Bustamante is a Democrat.
      •  Montana's 1972 State Constitution (none)
        Allowed for the governor and lieutant governor to run on one ticket, but was silent on whether they should be from the same party.  This is a first for the state to have a dem and a repub in the governor's offices.

        The republican party has tried to get the lieutenant governor-elect John Bohlinger to quit the party, but he has refused, and insists he will work to promote bipartisan solutions.

        Another Hunter Thompson Deanocrat

        by Ed in Montana on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 05:11:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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