News

Midterm Election Debrief

by Melissa Smith, Communications Chair

Congratulations to Representative Emma-Kerr Carpenter in House District 49, Representative-elect Denise Baum in House District 47, Representative Sharon Stewart-Peregoy in House District 42, and Senator-elect Kathy Kelker in Senate District 24.

We are so proud of our candidates and volunteers and how hard they worked. Republicans may have a numerical supermajority, but it doesn’t look like a functional one. The Republican caucus in the legislature is very divided, and in order to pass extreme ballot initiatives and come after the constitution, they’ll need their entire caucus to fall in line: they can’t afford any of their members voting against them. All our Democratic representatives and senators have to do is convince a few moderates not to dismantle the constitution. 

We went into the 2022 Midterm election clear-eyed, but optimistic and with a fighting spirit. Every odd was stacked in the Republicans’ favor– they had the map, the national environment, the money and the name recognition. Montana and especially Yellowstone County legislative candidates out-performed our projected share of votes in every race. Of special note, Jennifer Merecki in House District 48 and James Reavis in House District 50 came within a few dozen votes of winning, highlighting the importance of absentee and early voting as we’re sure the snow had an impact on that outcome.

  • Democrats flipped a Trump+14 seat by ten points (HD 28)
  • We won a Trump+2 district (HD 84) and we flipped a district that Trump tied (HD 96)
  • We held the two highest-profile Senate races that were heavily targeted by the Republicans and outside groups – Sen. Pat Flowers and Sen-elect Willis Curdy.
  • Our candidates and our volunteers knocked 266,000 doors since the beginning of the year— INCREDIBLE work, especially since we didn’t have the boots-on-the-ground power of a statewide race this cycle. 
  • Montanans sent a loud and clear message that they do not want Governor Gianforte to be able to buy his own Supreme Court justice and soundly defeated Lobbyist Jim Brown at the polls.
  • Montanan voters also delivered a strong message that they do not want legislators and politicians to insert themselves into their private health care decisions.

In our Eastern district, Penny Ronning ran an energetic campaign, covering all 41 counties and putting over 24,000 miles on her car. She worked hard to highlight Matt Rosendale’s radical track record, out-of-step values, and his utter contempt for his own constituents— valuable groundwork counter-messaging in the event that Rosendale tries to run against Tester in two years.

Kelker, Kerr-Carpenter, Baum and Stewart-Peregoy are heading to Helena along with all our Democratic legislators in January ready to get to work to build a Montana that’s better for all of us. Montana Democrats will lead—like always—on the issues that actually matter to Montana families: increasing affordable housing and child care, investing in our schools and our health care system, good jobs with good wages, protecting our constitutional rights and making sure billionaires are pulling their fair share.

The fight continues. We are wasting no time – we’ve got our eyes on the legislative redistricting process (which kicks off this month), the 2023 session and the 2024 Election. Join us in holding the Republicans accountable. 

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