With No Clear Favorite in GOP Field, Candidates Trying, Failing, to Stand Out
Helena – In a race without a clear frontrunner, the three leading GOP Senate candidates are finally starting to take some digs at one another, a sign of more interesting things to come with two months to go before the dull primary full of dull candidates.
When Californian Troy Downing was asked on a radio talk show recently which of his opponents he would have to “hold his nose” for, he said that the “toughest” GOP candidate for him to support would be “somebody that has been clearly a self-serving opportunist career politician who has followed that path and I’ll let you fill in the blanks” – an obvious dig at wealthy East Coast developer Matt Rosendale.
Meanwhile, ethically challenged Russell Fagg said in a fundraising email this week that his opponents have “a major flaw in their pitches for U.S. Senate” because even though “they say they want to represent Montana,” neither Rosendale nor Downing have been in Montana for that long. Fagg also threw an elbow, touting himself as a fourth-generation Montanan, “instead of a part-timer who doesn’t understand our state or our people.”
Lacking in-state support, Rosendale’s campaign is being propped up by outsiders like Illinois billionaire Dick Uihlein, John Bolton, and special interest dark money group Club for Growth, which said it’s ready to pour in seven figures to back Rosendale.
While the primary is fast approaching, there is still no one setting themselves apart from the field.
Take a look:
- National Journal: “none is a clear favorite”
- MTN News: “no consensus frontrunner”
- Politico: “downright sleepy”
- MTN News: “They’re also starting to throw some elbows at each other.”
- Downing called Fagg “another lawyer,” adding, “do we really want to send another lawyer to Washington.”
- Downing joined Fagg in jabbing Rosendale, saying Rosendale was too appealing to the “radical far right” to win a general election.
- Fagg took a jab at Rosendale’s residency
- Rosendale continues to rack up endorsements from Washington special interests
- Former state Rep. Matthew Monforton called Troy Downing and Russell Fagg “uninspiring establishmentarians.”
- GOP operative on Montana Senate primary: “The more crowded this is, the worse off it’s going to get.”
- GOP not impressed with Rosendale, or field: “If you’re the most well-known in a pack of people that no one knows, does that really make you the guy to watch?”
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