A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

6 May 2017 — 0732 mdt

Quist-Gianforte polling gap down to single digits

Two weeks ago, an Emerson College poll reported Republican Greg Gianforte was leading Democrat Rob Quist by 15 points, 52–37 percent. Yesterday, in a story on Gianforte’s two-faced statements on his support for the Trump-Ryan health care sabotage bill, the New York Times reported the race had tightened:

Polling by both parties has indicated that Mr. Gianforte is leading in the race, but only narrowly, which the Republican acknowledged on the call.

“We’re in a single-digit race,” he said, adding that the left would relish the symbolic importance of snatching a Republican-held House seat. “The Democrats would like nothing more than to put one up on the board and take this away from us to stop the Trump Train and block tax reform and block the regulations we’ll be able to peel back.”

Quist, against heavy odds, is on the move. That’s why Vice President Mike Pence, and prairie dog assassin Donald Trump, Jr., are headed for Montana to stump for Gianforte.

Gianforte’s old hunting mistake is not a BFD

Seventeen years ago, Greg Gianforte was fined $70 for illegally killing an elk in Park County.

“Greg was out hunting and spotted a handful of elk in a timber area,” Gianforte spokesman Shane Scanlon said. “After observing an elk he believed it had brow tines and he shot it. Unfortunately upon approaching he had mistaken tree branches for brow tines.

“Knowing that this was a violation of local hunting rules, he tagged it, field-dressed it, left it in place and immediately traveled to an area in cell service and reported the downed elk.”

Gianforte’s critics should not succumb to the temptation to accuse him of poaching or a cover-up. His experience was nothing more than an embarrassing bout of buck fever. There’s no legitimate tie-in to the election.

Candidates never learn that excess candor with donors costs votes

Remarks made privately to fat cat donors always leak — and political candidates never seem to learn from the misfortunes of other politicians.

  • Mitt Romney was surreptitiously video recorded telling a room full of high roller that 47 percent of Americans are tax avoiding bums who mooch off the makers.

  • Hillary Clinton was video recorded telling high dollar donors at a fundraiser that members of the white working class were deplorable homophobes and racists.

Both lost, and both lost partly because they said stupid things in a effort to elicit a substantial campaign contribution.

If Gianforte loses this election, he’ll lose it at least in part because of his conflicting statements on the Trump-Ryan health care sabotage bill. Voters don’t like being lied to — at least not so egregiously.

Can Quist exploit Gianforte’s health care blunder?

Yes — but only, I suspect, if hospital executives and board members, who generally are horrified by Trump-Ryan’s gutting of Medicare, stand up and endorse Quist. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. In Montana, most of those people are Republicans, and lack the wisdom and courage to take a stand in public.

Don’t watch or listen to political ads

Change the channel or radio station, or turn off your television or radio. You’ll learn nothing useful from a 30-second ad. The same goes for printed propaganda that candidates and meddlesome third parties inflict on voters. Rip the cards and brochures to shreds and set them on fire.