Legislators decry negative campaigns

2012-11-08T18:16:00Z Legislators decry negative campaignsBy SANJAY TALWANI Independent Record Helena Independent Record
November 08, 2012 6:16 pm  • 

The Republican Party will see debate nationally over its future direction, along with a battle in Montana over its leadership in the upcoming legislative session, GOP state Sen. Dave Lewis said Thursday.

“Nationally, we are becoming the party of older white men — which is nice, because I’m an older white man,” he said to laughs at the weekly Home Town Helena coffee gathering. “But we’re going to die. The Republican Party has got to broaden nationally, there’s no question about that.”

The party isn’t doing well with women, Latinos or African-Americans, said Lewis, who has worked for governors of both parties.

But the Republican party is also losing votes on the “far, extreme right,” he said. He blamed Libertarian candidates for the losses Tuesday of Rick Hill, running for governor, and U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, running for U.S. Senate.

Lewis’ comments came during a discussion with newly re-elected state Reps. Chuck Hunter, a Democrat, and Liz Bangerter, a Republican.

Lewis said he hoped the Legislature would have a better relationship with Gov.-elect Steve Bullock than with Brian Schweitzer, who vetoed about 80 bills — although he acknowledged some of the bills probably deserved it.

“We didn’t have much of a relationship with the governor for the past eight years, to say the least,” he said.

Hunter, who faced no primary opponent, did not start campaigning door-to-door in earnest until mid-summer. And by that time, people were tired of the negativity they had already seen.

People were generally friendly, but this time around, they didn’t want to talk politics and resisted tak-ing printed materials

“Yeah, hi, how do you do, but I’ve had enough,” he said, summing up a typical reaction. “People really want government to work together. They’ve been saying that for a long time, but right now there’s a level of frustration about what’s happening not only in Congress, but perhaps here in the state as well.”

Bangerter said she met plenty of unfriendly people in her campaign.

“People curse at me at the door all the time,” she said.

And in the “dog days” of summer, she witnessed plenty of strange behavior.

“I had more naked people come to the door than I’ve ever seen,” she said.

Lewis didn’t have an election in this cycle.

“I’ve haven’t had anybody come naked to the door, but I’ve had people carrying guns to the door,” he said.

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - November 13, 2012 9:41 am
    The Democratic party has absolutely not swung to the left. Just not as hard to the right as the Republican party. And they seemed to think that obstructing Obama without actually offering any alternatives was a good strategy. They have driven the country into a ditch. The voters of Montana obviously forgot about the stupidity which was our last legislative session and unfortunately sent many Republican incumbents back, but at least we had some decent outcomes in the statewide races.
  2. Sgravel
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    Sgravel - November 09, 2012 7:07 am
    The message of making America Right for Millionaires/Billionaires didn't work. There will be some obvious time required for denial and grieving.
  3. steeline
    Report Abuse
    steeline - November 09, 2012 7:04 am
    It is not only the Republicans that are the problem. The progressive socialist party,what used to be the old Democrat Party, have spent the American people into oblivian. All people will now have to pay and it aint going to be pretty. We have to get America back.
  4. shawnwhitewolf
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    shawnwhitewolf - November 08, 2012 8:52 pm
    Rep. Dave Lewis must not be aware of what the Montana Republican Party has done in the past few days against American Indians. It was national news in Indian Country Today. www.indiancountrytoday.com
    Overall, the GOP can blame the ultra-conservatives/tea party for the party being taken less seriously. Maybe its time to send the tea party back to where they came from and focus on making Montana a better place. Congrats to Liz Bangerter. I proudly voted for her in this election, but voted Democrat in all other areas. Bangerter is an outstanding individual in my eyes.
  5. steeline
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    steeline - November 08, 2012 6:48 pm
    The message should be loud and clear. To you elected officials do your duty for the people. To heck with the party. We have to get things done and right.

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