The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913


By Bonnie Davidson
The Courier 

Battleground Montana

Campaign Season In Full Swing For State Candidates


With the changing of voter district lines, some legislative positions have shifted and some office holders have stepped down to take other positions appointed to them. It's an active campaigning season for the state legislature this year.

From ballot issues to potential candidates on the ballots, it's a good idea for voters to get educated on the issues and understand who they might be voting for. Much of the information here comes from the Montana Secretary of State office.

Montana State

House Of Representatives

Glasgow is split between three house representative districts and two senate districts. The county reflects that split in the district lines. While it is not a voting year for the senate districts, voters will see the state house of representatives on the ballot based on their voting district.

Those in house District 31, towards the southwest corner of the county, will choose between Bridget Smith-D, and Bill Whitehead-D, both from Wolf Point. Those in house district 33, in a small portion of the northwest of the county, will choose between Floyd Russell Hopstad, D-Glasgow, and Mike Lang, R-Malta. The rest of the county, covering the northeastern side are in house district 34. Candidates are Gene Hartsock, of Glasgow, and Austin Knudsen, of Culbertson.

U.S. House Of

Representatives For Montana

While Matthew Rosendale is the only candidate, known to The Courier, to make an appearance in Glasgow for his "Freedom First Tour," he's not the only candidate on the ballot. Currently a state senator, he said during his visit to Glasgow in February that he hopes to make a difference where he sees most problems, on a national level. On the Republican ticket he's up agains Elsie Arntzen, a state representative, Corey Stapleton, a former state senator and candidate for governor in 2012, and Ryan Zinke, a former state senator and a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2012.

Rosendale explained during his brief visit in Glasgow, that this area was one of the last on his tour through all 55 counties in the state. His focus on the upcoming election is on problems with the national debt and deficit, and working with the state to become more selve sustaining.

Democrats up for the primary are John Driscoll, former public service commissioner, former speaker of the Montana house of representatives, and a nominee for the seat in 2008. He'll be up against John Lewis, former state director for Sen. Max Baucus. Lewis holds and endorsements from Baucus, Gov. Steve Bullock and Sen. Jon Tester.

One Librertarian nomination will be on the ballot, Mike Fellows, a businessman and the chair of the Libertarian party in Montana.

U.S. Senate for Montana

Some shifts and changes shook up the upcoming ballot for senate seats. Sen. John Walsh-D was appointed in February this year to fill the rest of the term for Baucus, who previously announced his retirement after his sixth term. Baucus was appointed to the U.S. Ambassador to China position, and Walsh was appointed to fill in the term.

Walsh will be seeking that position in the upcoming election on the Democratic ticket. He's up against Dirk Adams, a rancher and former business law professer, and John Bohlinger, the former Lieutenant Governor of Montana. Walsh is also a former Lt. Gov. of Montana and the former Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard. He is also the only candidate with endorsements.

In the Republican primary, Steve Daines, the current U.S. Representative and previous nominee for Lt. Gov. in 2008, will face Champ Edmunds, a current state representative, and Susand Cundiff. Daines holds endorsements on the Republican ticket.

The lone Libertarian candidate is Roger Roots, a nominee for the Secretary of State of Montana in 2012.

Ballot Issues

Issues on the ballot are in a wide range. You'll find healthcare issues and marijuana up for legalization. The statuses of these ballot issues are current up to mid-March. Sixteen ballot issues were reported, this is just a brief of each ballot issue.

The first ballot issue is establishing the right for adults to purchase, produce and consume marijuana without criminal penalties. While the states of Colorado and Washington passed similar initiatives, it's hard to say what kind of support this ballot issue will receive. The petition was approved for signature gathering on Valentine's Day last year, a sponsor may now submit those signatures to county election offices.

Allowing compensation for a certain defective dental procedure is also on the ballot. The issue was reviewed by the Legislative Services Division (LSD) and the sponsor now has the opportunity to respond.

Those paying attention to healthcare might looked at the ballot issue that would increase access to Montana's Medicaid program for the uninsured, low-income adults. The issue was withdrawn and resubmitted twice and approved for signature gathering this month.

Another health issue added to the ballot was to prohibit use of Montana resources to administer and enforce the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The measure would cause issues in hospitals and in medical care, but it has been approved for signature gathering.

A state constitutional amendment by initiative was proposed to establish a right to natural foods, medicines, water and soil. This issue has also been reviewed by the LSD and the sponsor can now respond.

Prohibiting trapping of certain animals by private individuals on any public lands within the state has been proposed. The statutory initiative had a petition approved for signature gathering last September and the sponsor may now submit signatures to county election offices.

A similar initiative for trapping was also put on the ballot. Prohibit trapping of certain animals by private individuals on any public lands within the state was approved for gathering signatures in the same mont of September.

Another initiative proposed would require the identification of political advertisements, with the origin of financial support. The initiative has been reviewed and the sponsor can now respond to the LSD.

A second politial statutory initiative was proposed that would require reporting and all disclosure by all persons and entities engaging in political activity. The sponsor was approved to gather signatures in Ocotober and would also have to subit those signatures to county election offices.

Requiring to hold special elections to fill the vacancies for the U.S. Senator office is also a ballot issue that possibly sprung up when Walsh was appointed to finish out Baucus' term. The LSD has reviewed the initiative and the sponsor will now have the opportunity to respond.

Another state constitutional initiative was proposed that would reserve to the people the power to amend or repeal laws passed by initiative. The ballot initiative was approved to begin gathering signatures in September and they could be submitted to county election offices.

A measure that would require that the legislature should be composed of 50 percent men and 50 percent women is on the upcoming ballot. Signatures will need to be gathered for this initiative to move forward.

With digital data taking over, an initiative to prohibit warrantless searches of digital communication and prohibit general warrants could be added to the state constitution. A petition was approved for signatures in February.

While the election season has just begun and the campaigning hasn't quite reached its peak yet, further information and events may peak the interest of voters this year. Voters be sure to look up your voting districts. A future article will give further details on voting districts and poll locations before the upcoming primary.


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