When Montana voters head to the polls this Thursday to fill the state’s single seat in the U.S. House of Representatives left vacant by Ryan Zinke, will their decision hinge on which candidate – a former country singer Democrat or a tech industry Republican – has a better chance of defending their gun rights?
Montanans may be bigger on the Second Amendment then they are on that famous Big Sky. It’s pretty difficult to travel anywhere between Missoula and Miles City and not find somebody with a gun in their car, truck or SUV.
Democrat Rob Quist has been running an advertisement showing him cranking a round into a Model 94 Winchester and plugging a television set. He always seems to be wearing a cowboy hat. He was born in Cut Bank.
Republican Greg Gianforte opposes gun control but when he ran for governor, he was defeated. He was born in California, but he’s being supported by the National Rifle Association, and that means something in these parts.
Democrats would love to win this seat, which has been in Republican hands for a couple of decades. It would be a symbolic victory against Donald Trump, which the Capitol Hill elites could use for propaganda purposes.
Republicans want to hold onto the seat, to retain their majority strength in Congress and prevent the Democrats from making hay with a victory in “gun country.”
This might explain why Fox News reported about the money reportedly raised on both sides. Quist has reportedly raised $1.3 million with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee kicking in $600,000.
Gianforte’s numbers weren’t available but Fox reported at least a couple of million dollars in campaign funds.
Over the weekend, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was in Missoula campaigning for Quist. While Sanders’ politics might not find a lot of friends over much of Montana’s vastness, the event drew an estimated 4,000 people, according to the Missoulian newspaper. And Sanders did win in the state against Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Montana Democratic primary last year.
This one could actually be down to the wire, as the difference between the two candidates appears to be in the single digits. Even Roll Call is watching this race.
Over the past 25 years or so, Democrats have become recognized as being a lot less friendly to the Second Amendment than Republicans. That just might be the deciding factor in this race.