History Indicates Montana Republicans Will Have a Tough Time Replacing Zinke
President Elect Donald Trump’s decision to pick Congressman Ryan Zinke to head the Department of the Interior has opened doors of opportunity for Democrats in Montana.
Democrat party leaders were in discussion today, December 14, but undecided on how to pick a candidate for the upcoming special election, while GOP leaders were discussing options of who can fill the position in the interim. Republican Party Committeeman Will Deschamps is one of the people who will help pick his party’s nominee, he says the process has changed since Interim Senator John Walsh was picked to replace Max Baucus.
"His name was put up by the Governor in the dark of night," said Deschamps. "I think at that time the democrat party could submit three names. That isn't going to happen this time. The state law was amended in the last session and so the state party now puts up one name and that one name goes right to the ballot. There is no primary election, none of that."
Often, Montana political parties have a hard time winning back seats in special elections, The Democrats ended up losing to Steve Daines after Baucus left and Republicans are still stinging from the special election of 1969, when Democrat John Melcher took the seat held by Congressman James F. Battin after Battin was picked by Richard Nixon to be a federal judge.
"When John Melcher won, the state republican party went in to their convention to pick somebody divided and they could not come to terms to put up the best person," Deschamps said. "They put up a person that obviously couldn't win the race and the democrats won. 19 years we lost that seat."
While Republicans and democrats are still scrambling to pick candidates for the special-election, Montanans can prepare for more political ads to fill the airwaves this summer as the off-season congressional race is expected to lure lots of cash from national donors.