By Gary Marbut
Missoula, MT –-(Ammoland.com)- Dear MSSA Friends,
You haven't heard from me much lately. All of my time and energy has been focused on my campaign for the Montana House in HD 94 (Missoula area).
People keep asking me, “How's the campaign going?”
Truthfully, a candidate for the Legislature never knows. There's not enough money in a legislative race to be able to afford the sophisticated polling that would really answer that question. A candidate just does everything he possible can and hopes for the best.
I do know a few things about how the planets are lining up, although not enough to be counting any chickens yet. I'll tell you what I do know.
I'm on the ballot as an Independent in a district with no Republican running. When I ran two years ago, I knew going in that the district was about 70% Democrat. Still, I gave it the “college try” running as a Republican. The Montana Redistricting Commission changed the district a lot. The district is now, best guess, about 50% D and 50% R. So, that's better.
Also, Gallup recently released the results of a poll showing that 47% of voters now consider themselves to be independent – not Republican or Democrat. I don't know how solidly that number holds in HD 94, but it's something to think about.
Although I've had differences with the “good old boys” in the Republican Party (that's why I'm running as an Independent), since I've run in this (mostly the same) district before as a Republican, I have pretty good name ID here. One might suppose that with no Republican on the ballot the Republican voters would NOT vote for a Democrat and would vote for me, if they vote in the race at all (they might not; they might stay home or not vote in this race).
My liberal, lady lawyer, incumbent opponent doesn't seem to be doing much campaigning. She's done just one direct mailing to some subset of registered voters (I didn't get one), and has hardly any signs up. There are a number of theories about why she's not campaigning, maybe some truth to all. Her husband is running for Justice of the Peace, a county-wide race. With their commitment to his campaign, plus work, plus taking care of her three cute, young kids, maybe she just doesn't have time or energy to campaign for herself. The Democratic Party ran much of her campaign for her before, but Democrats are said to be very dispirited this election cycle, between embarrassment over Obama and the Walsh fiasco, so they're having trouble energizing and turning out volunteers. So, she doesn't have a lot of experience campaigning, and may not have the time, or even the interest. Maybe she thinks that since she won two years ago that the election is in the bag. Maybe she sees the handwriting on the wall and has just given up. Maybe she knows something I don't know about how the votes get counted. Whatever.
She sure doesn't have the money. Campaign finance reports just filed with the Commissioner of Political Practices show that my opponent has raised only $2,300 since the Primary, and has $800 in campaign debts, leaving her just $1,500 to spend before the election on November 4th. Without a sudden infusion of cash (could happen), that's not much. In the same period, I have raised $16,300 (thanks to many of you). Of that, I've spent about $8,000 already and have planned expenditures for the rest before the election.
Meanwhile, I have some good cards to play, and I'm playing them. I live in the district; my opponent doesn't. I'm a veteran; my opponent isn't. I'm self-employed; she's a government-employed lawyer. Although she promised voters two years ago that she respected the RKBA, she voted anti-gun in the last session 23 of 24 votes. I own that turf. There's more, but that's enough for here.
So, how's the campaign going? Now you know much of what I know. You tell me. I'm still not counting any chickens. Ask me again on November 5th 2014. Stay tuned …
If you're in the Missoula area and want to help, look at the district map on my campaign Web page, at: http://www.ElectMarbut.com .
Call anyone you know who lives in the district and advise them to vote for me, and to be sure to actually vote – no staying home. If you want to walk around neighborhoods in the district to knock on doors and talk to people, come get campaign materials from me to hand out.
Gary Marbut, president Montana Shooting Sports Association
author, Gun Laws of Montana
About Montana Shooting Sports Association:MSSA is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit: www.mtssa.org