Montana and Rob Quist may be the best chance to win a house seat this year (May 25).
The next special election is for Montana’s At-Large district, on May 25. The seat was most recently held by Ryan Zinke, who is now serving as Trump’s Secretary of the Interior.
Rob Quist is running on the Democratic ticket. He is endorsed by Our Revolution and by Daily Kos. Quist is a working musician who’s performed across Big Sky Country for decades. He’s best known as a member of the Mission Mountain Wood Band which headlined bluegrass/folk music concerts across Montana and much of the US in the 70s.
How you can help
Over at Our Revolution, we’re phone-banking for Rob Quist every Thursday and Saturday. We’ll be texting for the candidate the week before the election. Join us to volunteer, or contribute to the campaign.
Rob’s opponent is Greg Gianforte, a millionaire businessman and supporter of creationist causes who moved from New Jersey to Montana.
Montana has a Democratic governor in Steve Bullock, who enjoys 60% favorability, and a Democratic senator in Jon Tester. In many ways, this is the most favorable district of the five special elections this year. Historic margins for Democrats in these five districts is below (figures in bold represent an election without an incumbent running, or where the incumbent lost):
YEAR KS-4 GA-6 PA-10 SC-5 MT-AL
2017 -6.8% Apr 18, Jun 20 TBD Jun 20 May 25
2016 -31% -23% -40% -21% -16%
2014 -33% -22% -38% -31% -15%
2012 -33% -29% -31% -11% -11%
2010 -22% -99% -10% -10% -27%
2008 -31% -37% 7% 25% -32%
2006 -30% -45% 6% 14% -20%
2004 -35% -100% -86% 26% -32%
Quist's campaign fits Montana, though it has had a low profile nationally:
When Quist arrived last month in Fort Benton, Chouteau County’s biggest town, nearly 70 people gathered to hear him speak. “We’re a very Republican, red, conservative area,” Bailey told The Huffington Post by phone in a recent interview, describing the first rally they held with Quist in March. “I was like, ‘Holy cow!’”
Now, his rallies regularly draw hundreds. It’s precisely the kind of organizing Democrats say is essential to rebuilding the party and taking back power. But back in Washington, Democrats are conflicted on how or whether to get involved in the race. Some aren’t following it at all.
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s national mobilization chair in 2016. “Montana special election?” Clyburn said, when HuffPost asked if the DCCC planned to get more involved in the race. Somebody nearby told him the race was to replace Zinke. “Oh, I didn’t know about that,” Clyburn said. — HuffPo
Quist has done a great job raising money, though we can expect his past financial troubles (some caused by poor health) to become an issue in the campaign:
Rob Quist @RobQuistforMT
We received 22,333 individual contributions with an average donation of just $40. Thanks Montana! #mtpol #mtal http://robquist.org/quist-campaign-rolls-past-1-3-million-raised-release... …
5:02 PM - 11 Apr 2017
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has announced that he will be campaigning across Montana in May to support the campaign for Congress of Democrat Rob Quist, a folk musician from the Flathead Valley. — missoulian.com