Dems pin hopes on 'singing cowboy' in Montana

There is a special election in Montana on May 25 to fill the seat of Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke who resigned to become President Trump's interior secretary and Democrats are feeling bullish about their chances.

Zinke won the seat last November by 15 points. But Democrats have nominated a populist - a folk singing cowboy named Rob Quist - and outside money has been pouring into the state, boosting his candidacy and narrowing the poll gap between himself and the Republican nominee, tech millionaire Greg Gianforte.

The latest Gravis poll has Gianforte up by 8 points. But with less than two weeks to go, Quist has been making inroads with his attacks on President Trump and national Republicans.

Quist "sounds" moderate and is careful to distance himself from national Democrats. He refused an invitation from DNC Chairman Tom Perez to come out west and campaign for him. But he embraced the help of Senator Bernie Sanders whose populist message resonates with many of the independent conservative Republican voters of the state.

Washington Times:

Republicans are not taking anything for granted.

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, campaigned with Mr. Gianforte on Thursday for the second time in a less than a month. Vice President Mike Pence is slated to campaign on Friday with the Republican businessman, who lost his bid for governor last year.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee dedicated to defending House Republicans, has emptied $2 million into the race, funding attack ads casting Mr. Quist as “more Nancy Pelosi than Montana.” The National Republican Campaign Committee rolled out a television ad Thursday raising questions about the singer-songwriter’s financial history.

“Rob Quist hired us to build a dance floor at his house,” a man named Kraig says in the ad. “After we completed the job, he stiffed us.”

Tina Olechowski, a Quist spokeswoman, said the attacks show that the Democrat is gaining ground in the race.

“The momentum is behind Rob Quist, with Montanans across the state supporting Rob as an independent voice who will protect Montana’s public lands, fight for affordable health care and support tax cuts for small businesses and working families, not millionaires,” Ms. Olechowski said.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has invested $600,000 into pro-Quist television ad buys and get-out-the-vote efforts, and populist Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont is slated to campaign with the Democrat this month.

A Gravis poll shows that Mr. Quist has cut Mr. Gianforte’s lead to 8 percentage points in a district that Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke won by 15 points in November. Mr. Zinke stepped down to become Mr. Trump’s interior secretary.

“Our grass-roots momentum is unstoppable,” the Quist campaign said in one of a series of fundraising emails this week. “That’s why D.C. Republicans are scrambling to stop us — they’re terrified that we’re going to win this seat. So folks, let’s deal them a defeat that they won’t forget.”

Mr. Sanders and other liberal activists are hoping national Democratic power brokers don’t shortchange the race. They criticized the party for not putting more effort into the Kansas race last month, when Democrat James Thompson came within 7 percentage points of defeating Republican Ron Estes. Mr. Trump carried the district by 27 points in November.

Quist has tried to paint Gianforte as a carpetbagger because he was born in New Jersey. But Gianforte moved to Montana 24 years ago so he isn't getting anywhere with the attack.

As for Quist, it came out a couple of weeks ago that he performed several times at a nudist resort. Apparently, he was fully clothed at the time so that line of attack fizzled also.

Quist and the Democrats are having a hard time nationalizing these special elections. But the prominence of the health insurance issue may change that. Whatever the outcome in Montana and Georgia, where the other special election is being held, Democrats will claim victory for coming closer than expected.

When you're as far down as Democrats, you'll latch on to anything for a boost.

 

 

There is a special election in Montana on May 25 to fill the seat of Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke who resigned to become President Trump's interior secretary and Democrats are feeling bullish about their chances.

Zinke won the seat last November by 15 points. But Democrats have nominated a populist - a folk singing cowboy named Rob Quist - and outside money has been pouring into the state, boosting his candidacy and narrowing the poll gap between himself and the Republican nominee, tech millionaire Greg Gianforte.

The latest Gravis poll has Gianforte up by 8 points. But with less than two weeks to go, Quist has been making inroads with his attacks on President Trump and national Republicans.

Quist "sounds" moderate and is careful to distance himself from national Democrats. He refused an invitation from DNC Chairman Tom Perez to come out west and campaign for him. But he embraced the help of Senator Bernie Sanders whose populist message resonates with many of the independent conservative Republican voters of the state.

Washington Times:

Republicans are not taking anything for granted.

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, campaigned with Mr. Gianforte on Thursday for the second time in a less than a month. Vice President Mike Pence is slated to campaign on Friday with the Republican businessman, who lost his bid for governor last year.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee dedicated to defending House Republicans, has emptied $2 million into the race, funding attack ads casting Mr. Quist as “more Nancy Pelosi than Montana.” The National Republican Campaign Committee rolled out a television ad Thursday raising questions about the singer-songwriter’s financial history.

“Rob Quist hired us to build a dance floor at his house,” a man named Kraig says in the ad. “After we completed the job, he stiffed us.”

Tina Olechowski, a Quist spokeswoman, said the attacks show that the Democrat is gaining ground in the race.

“The momentum is behind Rob Quist, with Montanans across the state supporting Rob as an independent voice who will protect Montana’s public lands, fight for affordable health care and support tax cuts for small businesses and working families, not millionaires,” Ms. Olechowski said.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has invested $600,000 into pro-Quist television ad buys and get-out-the-vote efforts, and populist Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont is slated to campaign with the Democrat this month.

A Gravis poll shows that Mr. Quist has cut Mr. Gianforte’s lead to 8 percentage points in a district that Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke won by 15 points in November. Mr. Zinke stepped down to become Mr. Trump’s interior secretary.

“Our grass-roots momentum is unstoppable,” the Quist campaign said in one of a series of fundraising emails this week. “That’s why D.C. Republicans are scrambling to stop us — they’re terrified that we’re going to win this seat. So folks, let’s deal them a defeat that they won’t forget.”

Mr. Sanders and other liberal activists are hoping national Democratic power brokers don’t shortchange the race. They criticized the party for not putting more effort into the Kansas race last month, when Democrat James Thompson came within 7 percentage points of defeating Republican Ron Estes. Mr. Trump carried the district by 27 points in November.

Quist has tried to paint Gianforte as a carpetbagger because he was born in New Jersey. But Gianforte moved to Montana 24 years ago so he isn't getting anywhere with the attack.

As for Quist, it came out a couple of weeks ago that he performed several times at a nudist resort. Apparently, he was fully clothed at the time so that line of attack fizzled also.

Quist and the Democrats are having a hard time nationalizing these special elections. But the prominence of the health insurance issue may change that. Whatever the outcome in Montana and Georgia, where the other special election is being held, Democrats will claim victory for coming closer than expected.

When you're as far down as Democrats, you'll latch on to anything for a boost.

 

 

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