Former SEIU union leader Ted Dick is now taking over the reins as Executive Director at the Montana Democratic Party.
“There was very little I think anyone could have done, considering the national trends,” said Elliott, a former legislator. “I want to make it clear that our losses in the Legislature had nothing to do with the change in personnel.”
“The board met Saturday in Billings, and they simply wanted to set a new direction for the party,” Kidston said. “They felt it was necessary to do that early in the campaign cycle.”
Dick, 44, has been political director of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Health Care Northwest-Montana.
The blogosphere is already jumping on the change, citing the SEIU’s role in some of the negative campaigning that highlighted recent elections in Montana.
The Montanafesto has this:
It is likely that the dirty mud-slinging campaign tactics he is known for will intensify. Earlier this year, Ted Dick and the SEIU donated at least $10,000 to Main Street Advocacy, a progressive “Republican” group supporting moderate Republicans in contested primary races with Tea Party backed candidates. Main Street Advocacy eventually returned the money, but Dick’s connection to the group appears to be significant.
Meanwhile, what else was behind the Democrats shellacking here in Montana legislative races?
James Lopach, a political scientist at the University of Montana, says many voters in former union strongholds like Havre, Great Falls and elsewhere have been blue-collar, “lunch-bucket Democrats,” but that the party’s face has shifted more toward environmentalism, which appeals more to better-educated professionals in urban areas.
“The themes that the Democratic Party is singing might not be heard any more in those places,” he said.
Don Ryan, a moderate Great Falls Democrat who was creamed in his bid to win the Public Service Commission seat that includes Great Falls and northern Montana, said when he campaigned in rural areas and told people he was a Democrat, they often associated him with environmentalism — and that wasn’t a positive.
The first to fall after the Nov. 2nd elections here in Montana appears to be David Benson, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party.
The Montana Democratic Party has released Executive Director David Benson from his position.
Democratic Party Communications Director Martin Kidston told KRTV/KXLH the decision had nothing to do with the November 2nd election.
Kidston said it was a “personnel issue” and that the party is looking to set a new direction for the future of Montana politics.