The Republican convention to pick the U.S. House candidate has not even started yet and already Montana Republicans have dismissed failed gubernatorial candidate, New Jersey multi-millionaire Greg Gianforte in his newest election bid.
Montanans across the state passed on Gianforte for suing to block public stream access, lobbying for a statewide sales tax and spending over $6 million to try to buy the election for governor.
Republican leaders have voiced opposition to Gianforte as their candidate for the U.S. House with former GOP chair and Republican state senator Ken Miller of Laurel working to “chip away” support from Gianforte.
State Senator Ed Buttrey (R-Great Falls), also seeking the U.S. House seat, criticized Gianforte for trying to use the U.S. House seat as a stepping stone to future political positions. While state Senate President Scott Sales (R-Belgrade) questioned Gianforte’s inexperience in governing.
Recently, a conservative blog, E-City, wrote a post Why Republicans Should Say, “Thanks, but No Thanks,” to Greg Gianforte. The post called on Republicans to vote against Gianforte at the convention, citing his failed bid for governor, his anti-public access record and unpopularity among independent voters.
“It’s not surprising that even Republicans are having a hard time seeing Greg Gianforte as a U.S. House candidate,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Montanans know that New Jersey millionaire Greg Gianforte doesn’t hold their values with his record of suing to block public stream access, lobbying for a statewide sales tax and spending millions to try to buy an election. Montana voters have rejected Gianforte before and will do it again.
Here is just a snapshot of the Republicans lining up against Gianforte:
- Republican blog, E-City Beat: “Voting electors within the GOP should carefully consider all of the following before tapping Gianforte…In a year when every other Republican won state elections, Gianforte lost….Gianforte’s struggles with independents and his inability to expand his core constituency in the face of an upstart opponent could cost Republicans a special election they have every reason to win.”
- State Senator Scott Sales: “Senator Sales says, Gianforte will face some opposition: ‘He’s never held public office, so you don’t really know how he’s going to govern or how he’s going to vote,’ Sales says.”
- State Senator Ed Buttrey: “”I wonder if Greg Gianforte’s goal is to be 1 of 435, he’s a top level executive, I think what the party has to think about is picking someone who wants this role and is going to stay in this role…. Rather than just pick your favorite or who you saw last, you need to look at the electability, and the long term goals, and I think we’re having a lot of success with that message.”
- Former Republican GOP chair and legislator, Ken Miller: “We have tremendous respect for Greg and Susan (Gianforte) and hope that Greg will run for and become our governor in four years. As I have expressed to Greg personally, I do not see this position and race as the best path for him to accomplish that goal. Making calls around the state, many have expressed the same sentiments.”