Montana Democrats pick new Senate candidate sans election

posted at 7:01 pm on August 16, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

You may recall the rather strange political journey of Montana Senator John Walsh, which has had more than its fair share of ups and downs over the past year. Walsh was the Lt. Governor of the Big Sky State last year when the news came out that Max Baucus would be stepping down to become President Obama’s next ambassador to China. Rather than waiting around for a pesky election, the Governor decided to appoint Walsh as Senator, giving him a leg up on the competition for the 2014 elections. That worked out well for Walsh, including a win in the June primary – until the unfortunate news of his rather liberal, ahem… borrowing of other people’s work for a paper at the U.S. Army War College came to light. He then exited the general election race, stage Left, leaving the Democrats with no nominee to face Republican Steve Daines.

Now they needed to find somebody’s name to put on the ballot, and today was the big day. Sean Sullivan explains how it works.

Members of the party’s State Central Committee will gather Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds. The meeting, which is open to the press, starts at 9 a.m local time, 11 a.m. ET. State party executive director Andrea Marcoccio estimates that between 130 and 140 committee members will show up. Once the meeting starts, delegates will proceed to officially submitting candidate names. Those candidates will have a chance to address the entire committee. Then, the committee members vote. The winning candidate must receive a majority of votes cast to secure the nomination. If there are more than two candidates and no one gets a majority, the candidate receiving the least number of votes will be eliminated and another round of voting will begin.

I’m sure it’s just me, but the party’s State Central Committee just sounds kind of creepy… unless you’re reading about something in Russia, I suppose.

The early frontrunners were expected to be rancher Dirk Adams and state Rep. Amanda Curtis. (Or at least Adams and Curtis seemed to think so, as they were actively campaigning to get the nod.) The one thing they seemed to share in common was that nobody outside of their home counties could pick them out of a lineup. The Democrats had hoped to tempt former governor Brian Schweitzer into running, but apparently the fight didn’t look appetizing to him.

So how did it go? One of the locals, Christine Heggem, was keeping track of the events and reported that Amanda Curtis took it over Adams in the first round, 82 to 46, of 128 total votes cast. (Also, confirmation comes in from Great Falls.) So does Curtis stand much of a chance against Daines? Nothing is ever a sure bet this year, but if I were Steve, I’d be feeling pretty good about now.


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An even bigger liar!

trs on August 16, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Is Amanda Curtis the kindred spirit of Wendy Davis?

8 weight on August 16, 2014 at 7:04 PM

I’m surprised anyone was willing to run.

cat_owner on August 16, 2014 at 7:12 PM

Who “won” Torricelli or Lautenberg?

viking01 on August 16, 2014 at 7:14 PM

She’s kinda hot. But dumb as a box of rocks.

dforston on August 16, 2014 at 7:26 PM

That’s the way it always had been up until the 17th Amendment in 1912, isn’t it?

I’m not so sure the direct election of Senators is an improvement.

aquaviva on August 16, 2014 at 7:30 PM

It is going to be an interesting election in Montana.

Say No to fascism

coolrepublica on August 16, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Central Committee exists for Republicans as well.

I am a Precinct Committee Person who was further elected to Precinct Captain. A Precinct Committee Person, also known as PCP, Ward Member, and a few other similar titles, is a party member (not just a registered voter, but an elected or assigned member of the party) who can vote on Captains, Delegates, higher up members of the party, and on their level of participation for rules, platforms, and the likes.

A PCP is the most important political position in the United States in some of our views. A PCP organizes volunteers, they are a sign of how well the party is doing in a region, they support candidates, they vote on rules, delegates, and more. If we conservatives took over enough PCP positions (50% are typically vacant) we can prevent a Michael Steele, Reince, and do massive damage to those like McCain and other Rino’s.

Irregardless it is a great position to show strong support for the party, and it is Democratic (no. The party but thbe voting style) in nature. Please, even with the Communists Democrats do not attack the PCP system like that.

OregonPolitician on August 16, 2014 at 7:34 PM

The one thing they seemed to share in common was that nobody outside of their home counties could pick them out of a lineup.

.
Great snark!

ExpressoBold on August 16, 2014 at 7:44 PM

She’s kinda hot. But dumb as a box of rocks.

In my book, you can’t be both.

Bat Chain Puller on August 16, 2014 at 7:46 PM

It is going to be an interesting election in Montana.

coolrepublica on August 16, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Huh? Why? How is an anti-gun rights far-left liberal with a nose ring but no cash or name recognition going to make an election in Montana interesting?

She’ll be fun to mock, I suppose.

joana on August 16, 2014 at 8:01 PM

She’s a complete unknown. I probably follow local MT politics a lot more closely than the average person and I had never heard of her until a few days ago when the teachers’ union announced its support for her. (She’s a high school teacher. So that makes sense. Although the teachers’ union doesn’t seem to ever support Republican teachers when they run. But I digress.)

Her legislative experience is just one term. Which in Montana means one 90-day legislative session. Unless I’m missing something, she’s completely untested at the statewide level. But Daines should take nothing for granted and campaign hard.

She’s from Butte, which is traditionally a union and Democratic stronghold.

Here is the official legislative web page about Curtis, showing her committee assignments and bills for which she was the primary sponsor.

http://leg.mt.gov/css/Sessions/63rd/leg_infO.asp?HouseID=1&SessionID=107&LAWSID=15145

acasilaco on August 16, 2014 at 8:03 PM

The room was smoke-filled, but, since they were Democrats, it wasn’t tobacco.

formwiz on August 16, 2014 at 8:40 PM

I’m sure it’s just me, but the party’s State Central Committee just sounds kind of creepy… unless you’re reading about something in Russia, I suppose.

Or Virginia. Our dumba$$ GOP committee decided on a nominating convention instead of a voter primary.
And that’s how we got Gov. McAuliffe.

BacaDog on August 16, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Truthfully, I don’t know what else the Dems could have done. Walsh, as do most selfish (Dem) politicians, thought only of himself and never gave them much time to do anything else. Then again, the Dem governor who followed Harry Reid’s marching orders thought he could do something cute to protect the seat for the Demmies.

COgirl on August 16, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Who said she looks kinda hot? Maybe if she grew her hair out. The left is into transgenders et al….Maybe she is one of the gang…

crosshugger on August 16, 2014 at 9:34 PM

She was hand picked by the teachers union and anti gun…which she is now trying to back away from obviously… BUT ..the funniest thing was they made the delegates sign their ballots.. No pressure there I’m sure/

MontanaMmmm on August 16, 2014 at 10:02 PM

LOL check this out and this is from the Berkely I mean Missoulian …
http://missoulian.com/news/local/curtis-says-she-s-not-worried-about-past-comments/article_ab54b6e0-258f-11e4-b7cf-001a4bcf887a.html

MontanaMmmm on August 16, 2014 at 10:14 PM

I take it that Montana is a closed primary state? If that’s the case, than this method of choosing a new candidate is entirely reasonable, in spite of the optics, because it is a party decision.

If the primary was open to all voters, then I see a problem, because the primary was a vote for individuals by individual voters of every persuasion (Democratic, Independent, Republicans), and hence the method of choosing the replacement must allow the voices of the same demographic.

California, with its “top two contenders– no matter what party — get on the ballot” primary system will certainly have a problem doing what Montana has just done.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Very Democratic of the State Central Committee to have an actual vote with signed ballots! I think there’s a Joe Stalin Red Flag of Merit in this for someone!

claudius on August 16, 2014 at 10:35 PM

I don’t know why Jazz thinks “State Central Committee” is “creepy”.

I am an elected member of my county central committee and attend state central committee meetings and conventions.

Turn MD Red on August 16, 2014 at 10:36 PM

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM

But the State Central Committee’s decision is final at any rate, comrade.

claudius on August 16, 2014 at 10:38 PM

Montana Democrats pick new Senate candidate sans election

The headline seems to suggest there is something sinister in a party choosing their candidate among themselves and then having him run in the general election.
But why?
The sacred “American People” don’t have an inherent right either in heaven or in the US Constitution to select a political party’s candidate any more than they have a vested right to choose which addled bimbo will represent their state in the Miss America pageant. What’s more, we might get a vastly better stable of potential Presidents if we stopped making candidate selection a contest to see who is most prolific at creating candy-coated illusions and peddling them to 200 million ill-informed idiots…

jbspry on August 16, 2014 at 11:05 PM

unclesmrgol
Aug 16, 2014 at 10:30 pm

I take it that Montana is a closed primary state? If that’s the case, than this method of choosing a new candidate is entirely reasonable, in spite of the optics, because it is a party decision.

It is not a closed primary state. Voters aren’t even registered by party so nobody other than office holders or party officials are even really members of a political party. At the primary election, we get ballots for both parties (sometimes more than two) and just choose in the voting booth which one to vote on that year.

State law provides (I looked it up) that when a nominee withdraws (by a certain deadline) the state central committee (that’s the term used in statute) for whichever party it is gets to choose a replacement nominee in accordance with their party’s rules. So the Ds did follow the law.

acasilaco on August 16, 2014 at 11:17 PM

She’s kinda hot. But dumb as a box of rocks.

In my book, you can’t be both.

Bat Chain Puller on August 16, 2014 at 7:46 PM

hot beats out smarts if you just want to bang her into next week.

Bubba Redneck on August 17, 2014 at 12:40 AM

I don’t know why Jazz thinks “State Central Committee” is “creepy”.

I am an elected member of my county central committee and attend state central committee meetings and conventions.

Turn MD Red on August 16, 2014 at 10:36 PM

First thing I thought of was the old USSR; everything with commies is some Central Committee or some Worker’s Something-or-other.

But political parties are free to nominate their candidates as they see fit and both major ones use similar designations; no biggie.

Conventions are cool and fun regardless ‘o party.
Booze, balloons, babes, funny hats and did I mention booze . . . .

Bubba Redneck on August 17, 2014 at 12:45 AM

California, with its “top two contenders– no matter what party — get on the ballot” primary system will certainly have a problem doing what Montana has just done.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Washington is the same way.
In the voter’s pamphlets under the picture of the candidate there is the following phrase:
prefers (fill in the name of the party) party”.

Bubba Redneck on August 17, 2014 at 12:48 AM

Sadly top two is on ballot for Oregon, hoping it dies a painful death.

OregonPolitician on August 17, 2014 at 1:25 AM

Ed, AP check this out!!!
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=X98qmvI6Ntc

MontanaMmmm on August 17, 2014 at 2:37 AM

Compelling video.
She’s a piece of work….a real socialist.

Sgt Stryker on August 17, 2014 at 3:01 AM

You mean it was too hard to put the names on a ballot, send a ballot to every registered Democrat and give them a week to return it either to their party precinct office or by mail?

THAT was too hard to do?

Really?

I mean that is so low tech and easy to do that it isn’t funny, and yet the Democrats couldn’t figure out how to do it so that the party members could decide. Say what part of ‘democracy’ to Democrats stand for, anyway?

ajacksonian on August 17, 2014 at 7:51 AM

I’m surprised they picked her. Adams seemed the stronger candidate. Guess they wanted a woman, although the teachers union is very strong here. Adams would have been just as easy for Daines to beat. Yes, this is the system here to pick someone when there is a vacancy after the primary. Yes, she is pretty far to the left. We’ll see how much help she gets from the major movers in the party but I think she’s there so they have a name on a ballot.

Kissmygrits on August 17, 2014 at 8:54 AM

in spite of the optics, because it is a party decision

So why have elections at all? Just have these committees select who will be in Congress.

BobMbx on August 17, 2014 at 9:27 AM

I’m surprised they picked her. Adams seemed the stronger candidate. Guess they wanted a woman, although the teachers union is very strong here…

Kissmygrits on August 17, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Lady parts, FTW.

Fallon on August 17, 2014 at 9:44 AM

With that hair she’s make a great bore swab for large caliber cannons.

rplat on August 17, 2014 at 10:06 AM

WOW

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X98qmvI6Ntc

dforston on August 17, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Lady parts, FTW.

Fallon on August 17, 2014 at 9:44 AM

War On Women, otherwise the single ones don’t turn out in midterms.

ezspirit on August 17, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Montana voters you should know Amanda is extremely hostile to you gun rights and is on record voting for every piece of anti gun legislation that came before her no matter how repressive or asinine. If you value your gun rights vote against Amanda

sharpshooter on August 17, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Just say no to Obama turd Democrats. There are a few turd Republicans that should be flushed down as well but they are not in Montana.

Krupnikas on August 18, 2014 at 10:33 AM