Montana Dem candidate Quist tells DNC chair Perez to stay away
Are Republicans ever going to get tired of winning? The special election in Montana to replace the state's only House member, Ryan Zinke, who was sworn in as President Trunp's Interior Secretary, is turning into another Republican laugher.
The leading Democratic candidate, Rob Quist is running against a Republican tech millionaire Greg Gianforte. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez offered his services as surrogate campaigner to Quist who promptly turned him down. It seems the less that Montana voters will be reminded that Quist is a Democrat, the better.
The national Democratic Party has endured criticism from progressive activists for failing to provide support to Quist and other long-shot special election candidates. But some Democratic operatives argue that their involvement can nationalize a race in a way that is sometimes unhelpful to candidates running in Republican-leaning districts.
On its face, Quist’s decision to reject the DNC’s offer of in-person assistance affirms this theory. Montana has lately trended Republican in national elections, and a visible presence from the chair of Democratic Party could prove a liability among independents and Republican swing voters.
However, Quist has welcomed the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who the Montana Democrat backed in the 2016 presidential primary. Sanders announced this month that he would campaign for Quist some time before the May 25 special election.
It can’t hurt that Quist is running a populist campaign in the Sanders mold. He emphasizes his support for protecting Montana’s federally owned public lands and a single-payer health care system. In a not-so-subtle dig at GOP opponent Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire who moved to Montana from New Jersey, Quist ran an ad criticizing the disproportionate number of millionaires in Congress.
With less than a month to go, Quist needs all the help he can get. He announced a $1.3-million fundraising haul earlier this month, but a new poll shows him trailing Gianforte by 15 points.
I think it interesting that Quist would criticize millionaire Senators while embracing the millionaire socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Oh well. No one ever said Democrats had to be consistent.
Quist is toast. Not only is he an inexperienced gadfly, it was revealed last week that he was a member of a nudist group and performed at several nudist functions. Whether or not Montana voters care about such things is irrelevant. It certainly can't be a plus for the Quist campaign.
The recent "unity tour" featuring Perez and Sanders didn't quite work out the way that Democrats hoped. Sanders criticized the national party several times, most surprisingly over their shunning of pro-choice Democrats. He also said that the party was "falling apart." Meanwhile, Perez embarrassed himself by letting loose with a rash of obscenities at speeches touting his claim that Democrats "give a s**t about people."
Not surprisingly, the party has decided not to give Quist any national funds to run what appears to be a doomed campaign. The folk-singing, nudist cowboy is on his own.
The special election will be held May 25.