High Stakes for MT Supreme Court Race

Aaron Flint posted on October 28, 2010 09:20 :: 1253 Views

The stakes are high for Montana’s lone contested Supreme Court race this fall. 

As the AP reports:

At stake is an eight-year term on the state’s highest court. The next justice will join six others on a court that likely will be asked to resolve disputes on hot-button issues such as medical marijuana, physician-assisted suicide, benefits for gay couples and corporate political spending.

It’s the only nonpartisan election in Montana this year, but in this highly charged campaign season, political overtones have seeped into the race.

Well, first off, politics has always played a role in Supreme Court races.  Just look at the number of former elected Democrats who now serve on the court.  Look at the sheer number of partisan liberals on the court.  But that’s a side note- the stakes are high, get out and vote if you haven’t already. 

It seems plainly clear that Swandal is the conservative candidate, while Baker is the liberal candidate.  Baker is certainly touting endorsement from some Republicans. 

Reminds me of an interview I did with MT Public Radio’s Sally Mauk while home from Afghanistan for a couple weeks.  I told her how most Afghans are in the middle- they may like us Americans more, but if they see the Taliban winning in the long term, they will side with who they think will end up ruling the country for the long term.  Its much like politics, conservative business interests will support a liberal candidate if they see that person winning.  Liberal interests will do the same. 

That’s why fundraising is so important- if a candidate takes an early lead, it gives the appearance that a candidate is on track to win, so the special interests- despite their ideology will back that candidate.  In this case, though- an early fundraising lag by Swandal was certainly turned around later on in the campaign.  We’ll see Tuesday how the renewed efforts play out.  The other factor here, at the end of the day- liberal interests still own the outcome of The Montana Supreme Court no matter what happens in this race, but I’m sure the Swandal campaign would remind their base that change on the court has to start somewehere.     

Here’s a report profiling the race by Montana CBS stations:

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