Out in Montana, there’s a tight Senate race going on between incumbent Republican Senator Steve Daines and Democratic Governor Steve Bullock. Given how close the battle appears to be for control of the upper chamber, this is one that everyone will be watching carefully. Bullock has a proven record of being able to win statewide races in Montana (obviously) but he also has some serious weak points on his resume. One of them has been his support for his party’s efforts to implement new gun control laws and infringe on Second Amendment rights. But Team Bullock has come up with a plan to counter that image and shore up support for him. He’s gotten the endorsement and advertising support of a hunting and finishing group from his state and they’re currently running advertisements supporting him. There’s just one problem, however. The “hunting and fishing group” is almost entirely fictional and gets nearly all of its funding from a few wealthy liberals in California. (Free Beacon)

Liberal megadonors in Washington, D.C., and California are bankrolling an astroturf campaign designed to deflect criticism of Montana Democratic governor Steve Bullock’s embrace of gun control.

Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund recently released an ad saying Bullock “took on liberals in his own party” to protect gun rights. The group’s website claims to be “all about ensuring that Montanans have places to hunt and fish,” asking for donations from “Montana sportsmen and women” in order to “stand up for your unique world class Montana outdoor heritage.”

But Montana Hunters and Anglers is funded almost exclusively by liberal interest groups and liberal megadonors in D.C. and California.

The Free Beacon has done a great job tracking down all of the “Montana hunters and anglers” who are involved with the Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund (MHALF). Of course, it apparently didn’t take too long since all of the $100,000 they’ve raised in 2020 came from a single person. That would be Silicon Valley physician Karla Jurvetson. She’s not from Montana and I don’t see any record of her being big into hunting or sports shooting. She is, however, a major influencer in Democratic politics. She gave $15 million to Elizabeth Warren’s failed presidential campaign over the past two years. And she is most assuredly not a supporter of Second Amendment rights.

It’s a pretty clever trick, though. Or at least it was until it was exposed. Having what is supposedly a group of outdoorsmen and women claiming that Bullock “stood up to his party” on gun rights to protect hunters could provide a big boost to his chances. Well… except for the fact that it’s simply not true.

This is hardly the first time we’ve seen astroturf campaigns jumping into high-profile political contests. It happens fairly often, particularly in debates over environmental concerns, oil and natural gas drilling and similar contentious issues. But it takes a special type of moxie to give your group a name implying it’s composed of Montana hunters and anglers when there apparently isn’t even one such person in the entire state who was willing to toss the organization a couple of bucks.

Meanwhile, Daines has received the endorsement of the Billings Gazette and has been getting some love from Vice President Pence as well. His liberal detractors are trying to claim that he’s been “greenwashing” his record on the environment, but that really doesn’t sound like it will hit Montana voters with all that much force.

Bullock retains significant support in the state, but Daines has the power of incumbency in his corner. It’s hard to imagine Montana handing another Senate seats to the Democrats, but we shouldn’t get too complacent here. I really didn’t think that Bullock would be elected Governor either.