Gotta pay to play
Montana Republicans will be holding their nominating convention for the special election at Trump Tower. Well, possibly. The party is charging potential nominees $1740 that “will be used to defray the registration costs of delegates attending the party nomination convention,” according to Jeff Essmann, Republican Party Chairman and also a state senator out of Billings.
(That’s in addition to the $1740 candidates have to give the Montana Secretary of State for filing fees. At least that’s what I assume. The person I talked to at S.O.S. said they weren’t sure how it worked for a special election and were running it by legal. There are a number of special election questions the office is dealing with and the fact that it’s in transition isn’t making things easier.)
Eight names are already being bandied about bringing the potential haul to the party, to date, to $13,920. Democrats won’t be charging nominees a fee, according to party E.D. Nancy Keenan. MTN’s Mike Dennison has the rest of the story.
Who are the Democrats running?
There are just
two three names right now: state Rep. Casey Schreiner out of Great Falls and Butte’s Rep. Amanda Curtis.
I know very little about Schreiner except that he’s starting his third term in the Montana House. He won a squeaker in November by 42 votes. Here’s a link to his legislative web page that lists committee assignments and bills he sponsored in the 2015 session.
UPDATE: Kelly McCarthy, a state house representative out of Billings and chairman of the Democratic central committee there, has also announced. I don’t know a whole lot about him, either, although he’s been a fixture in Montana Democratic politics for years. The Billings Gazette‘s Clair Johnson offers some insight.
I know a great deal more about Curtis. With just a two-month window, she took on Congressman Steve Daines in 2014 for a U.S. Senate seat and garnered 40 percent of the vote. I have great respect for this woman. Here’s a recent interview she did with the Montana Standard. Much more on her in future posts.
Maybe repealing the ACA isn’t such a great idea
What to do with the 60,000-plus Montanans who could be thrown off Medicaid? Even some Republicans are wringing their hands over the fate of those who can’t afford insurance (meaning, if you’re an individual making slightly over $17,000 a year, you could be out of luck).
Montana House Speaker Austin Knudsen has some concerns:
The Culbertson Republican recently told The Gazette that state lawmakers would have to figure out a way to dial back the state’s Medicaid program humanely. More than 60,000 people have signed up for Medicaid since the 2015 Legislature voted to offer Medicaid to more than 70,000 working Montanans who at the time couldn’t afford insurance but were too far above the poverty level to qualify for Medicaid.
Well, Austin, it’s your party that wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. You can explain the dilemma to your constituency. Here’s the story that originally appeared in the Billings Gazette.
I usually leave presidential politics to loftier pundits than myself. This well-written Washington Post article by the reporter who broke Trump’s “charity” contributions and the genital grabbing video is a must read. But enough people voted for this con man so now he’s President-elect. Go figure.
Dark days ahead, my friends.