This week in Montana politics.
Democrats to hold special nominating convention
Montana Democrats will hold a special nominating convention in Helena on August 16, to choose a replacement candidate for U.S. Senate. The Democratic party State Central Committee and Executive Board will nominate and vote on a candidate to replace Sen. John Walsh who dropped out of the campaign in the wake of plagiarism charges.
All week, Democrats took to the internet to promote their preferred candidates and speculate about possible replacements. With "The Dude", Jeff Bridges rejecting calls to run, the field narrowed to more likely candidates. Primary challengers John Bohlinger and Dirk Adams have both expressed interest in the nomination. According to Mike Dennison of the Billings Gazette, "Bohlinger, 78, said he thinks he’s still the most qualified candidate to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines in November — but that he won’t accept the nomination unless state and national Democratic Party groups pledge to give him strong assistance in the campaign."
State Rep. Amanda Curtis from Butte, has also thrown her hat into the ring, telling the Gazette she's "in a unique position to electrify the base and energize the state and bring in disenfranchised voters from the left, the right and the middle."
Dave Wanzenried, a state legislator from Missoula initially indicated an interest in the nomination, but withdrew his name later in the week due to personal reasons.
Zinke & Lewis campaign on veteran issues
U.S. House candidates Ryan Zinke and John Lewis campaigned on veteran's issues this week, with Zinke offering a 5 point plan to improve veteran's care and Lewis announcing the creation of a Montana Veterans & Military Families Advisory Council.
Zinke's veterans plan calls for increasing accountability for VA facilities, improving access to care, increasing suicide awareness, assisting vets wth thier education goals and aligning military standards with industrial standards to ease veterans' transition to the private sector.
Lewis' Montana Veterans & Military Families Advisory Council is intended " to help hold Congress accountable and honor the promises we have made to veterans of all generations." Lewis invited parents, children and spouses of military members to join the advisory council, saying " When members of the military serve our nation, often times the entire family shares in the sacrifice. That’s why I’m inviting parents, children and spouses to join in."
5 candidates removed from ballot
In campaign finance news, MTPR's Edward O'Brien reported that three legislative candidates and two candidates for county commissions have been removed from the ballot after the failed to file campaign finance reports.