(Note: We have been migrating to a new, dedicated server, so I was unable to make new blog posts for a few days. Looks like we are up and running now- here is a post I intended to place this past Friday)
National Journal handicaps the Governor’s race in Montana by noting Attorney General Steve Bullock’s (D-MT) fundraising lead in the absence of a legitimate Democratic primary, while adding that Bullock will need to move away from Obamacare and attempt to “localize the race.”
Normally, I would concur. However, in this instance, Bullock is incredibly vulnerable on the local issues as well. Why? Two words. Otter Creek. Bullock’s opposition to developing the Otter Creek Coal Tracts not only places him decidedly to the left of Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT), it also raises serious questions over his ability to support education funding in Montana.
I made this same point over a year ago while Bullock was still dragging his feet over whether or not to run for Governor, as Politico’s David Catanese noted back in April of 2011. You may recall about the same time back in 2011, the union representing educators in Montana, the MEA-MFT, held a large rally in support of education on the steps of the capitol. There was a laundry list of public officials who spoke at the rally, starting with the Governor and including former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dave Wanzenreid. Noticeably absent was Attorney General Steve Bullock. You don’t have to be a member of the Black Eyed Peas to ask, “where is the love?”
That history aside, while the GOP can use Otter Creek as a wedge issue to gain support from pro-education spending voters, you can still expect the MEA-MFT to come out heavily in favor of Bullock.
Flashback- Bullock gets Testy over Otter Creek
Full text of The Hotline’s latest analysis on the Montana race:
MONTANA (Open D, Gov. Brian Schweitzer is term-limited.)
Attorney General Steve Bullock will have a head start in the general election, given the lack of serious competition in the Democratic primary. Former Rep. Rick Hill is the favorite in a seven-way Republican field. The Republican Governors Association has already tried to make health care—and Bullock’s refusal to join the national lawsuit—an issue in the race. But Gov. Brian Schweitzer is popular, and he could help Bullock localize the race, a must for any Democrat in a presidential year in a red state.