Montana’s Biggest Union Names the “Moderate” Republicans it Supports in the Primary
Montana's largest union, the combined teacher's union MEA-MFT, has a long history of supporting Democratic candidates in elections, but MEA-MFT president Eric Feaver wants to make it clear that they support Republicans too.
"MEA-MFT, 18,000 members strong, probably has as many Republican members, if not more, than Democrat members," Feaver said. "So the presumption that we do not support Republican candidates in Republican elections or even against Democrats is simply not true, certainly not in legislative races when there is a certain given-ness to the event."
Technically speaking, MEA-MFT has supported Republicans in the past, but, as campaign finance watchdog followthemoney.org shows, the amount of support the union distributes to the two major parties is a difference of magnitude.
The "given-ness" Feaver mentions, is the practical concept that, in some districts, one of the two major parties will not be able to compete either because of a lack of candidates or a lack of voter support in that region.
"The politics of those districts is such that, it's pretty much a guarantee election for a particular party," Feaver said. "It is important that both parties have candidates, and we encourage parties to have candidates, but in some districts it doesn't serve any purpose; to support candidates that can't win."
Feaver said he hopes Republicans will "be responsible" and elect candidates that won't "go off the right end of things." He says the party needs moderates who are able to" make deals" with Democrats.
Here is a quick list of candidates that MEA-MFT is supporting in the primary (there may be more):
Jeffrey Wellborn from Dillon, Rob Cook and Llew Jones from the Conrad area, Duane Ankney from Colstrip, Roger Hagen in Great Falls, Tom Berry from Roundup, Tammi Fischer in Kalispell, Mark Noennig in the Laurel area, Christy Clark in Choteau.
Feaver said MEA-MFT will support these candidates all the way through the general election, but said there was at least one candidate "from the Hi-Line" that would not receive support in the general election.