Blog Cabin

Entries in Montana politics (40)


Retired investor from Paradise Valley enters MT governor's race

(PRAY)- A man with an extensive financial background outside Montana hopes to bring that expertise to bear inside the state as the next governor.

Robert Fanning becomes the 8th person to launch a campaign for opening being vacated by Governor Brian Schweitzer next year. Schweitzer can't run again because of term limits. 

KPAX TV reports Fanning sees himself as a "job creator", saying his background in the financial markets of Chicago give him an understanding of creating new employment to spur Montana's economy. 

"I aim to enter public life to serve Montana, to serve Montanans. I do so in the hopes and with the intention of (1) putting Montana to work in an export economy with one of America's highest skilled and compensated work forces, and (2) stemming the tide of Washington federal government intrusion, obstruction, interference, and damage to the daily lives of hard working Montanans."

Read more about Fanning from the story at 


Skees to make healthcare battle focus on run for state auditor

(WHITEFISH)- Saying he's already "disappointed" in the Legislature after just one session, freshman lawmaker Derek Skees is setting his sites on higher officer, announcing this week he intends to run for State Auditor next year.

And expect Skees to make the national issue of healthcare reform a center plank of his campaign platform.

Skees, the 4th District Republican from Whitefish came into politics just a year ago via the Tea Party movement and created headlines during the session several times on issues such as healthcare and the authority of county sheriffs.

This week, Skees announced he intends to run for State Auditor in 2012, a move that would preclude him running for re-election in the Flathead.

Skees, who is a contractor and home builder by trade, told The Daily Interlake this week he intends to run on a platform resisting federal healthcare reform, or what he and other critics term "Obamacare".

Skees tells the Interlake the "continuing trend of growth of government and regulation is destroying the private sector."



Bullock to enter MT governor's race Wednesday 

First term Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock is setting his sights on higher office, expected to announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor this week.

For months, it's been a poorly kept secret that Bullock would likely run for the post that will be vacated by Brian Schweitzer in just over a year.

Although the official announcement hasn't been made, all indications are that Bullock will formally enter the race Wednesday.

KPAX TV says sources have confirmed the announcement is coming Wednesday, which also verifies the campaign events Bullock has announced on his Facebook page.

Bullockwill hold "campaign kickoff" parties in Billings and Helena, with more stops in Butte, Red Lodge and Bozeman next week.

State Senator Larry Jent of Bozeman is the only other Democrat that's entered the race.


Schweitzer fined $4100 for ethics violation

(HELENA)- Governor Brian Schweitzer is being ordered to shell out just over $4000 to settle a three year old fight with Republicans over his appearance in re-election commercials three years ago.

GOP leaders filed the complaint during the 2008 gubernatorial campaign, accusing Schweitzer of using state funds to appear in state-funded public service announcements in violation of Montana law governing incumbent office holders running for re-election.

Montana’s former Commissioner of Political Practices recommend the standard fine of $750, but GOP leaders took the case to court for review. The court threw the issue back in the hands of new Commissioner William Corbett. At one point the Republicans argued Schweitzer should be fined as much as $32,000.

Schweitzer argued the law was too vague and pressed for the commissioner to dismiss the case.

Now, Corbett is accepting the recommendations of a hearing examiner who reviewed the case and decided Schweitzer should be fined $100 for each PSA, for a total of $4100. He wrote “there is no evidence that the PSAs were ever broadcast”, saying “because very little taxpayer money was spent in the production and distribution of the 41 PSAs, it is reasonable to select a low, per-violation, penalty amount” as a lesson for other incumbents in the future.

Read the full report.



Lynch resigns, Reardon takes over DOT

(HELENA)- Governor Brian Schweitzer is dipping into the ranks of the Department of Transportation to appoint a replacement for Jim Lynch, who is leaving DOT to return to the private sector.

Schweitzer announced yesterday that Jim Lynch of Kalispell was stepping down effective immediately. Tim Reardon will take over at DOT Director.

“I want to thank Jim for his service and commitment to the state and the people of Montana,” said Governor Schweitzer. “I wish him well as he moves back to the private sector. Jim was always one of the first people on the scene to any road incident; he was always willing to lend a hand in our towns and communities with snow removal or gravel roads and was a great advocate for highway safety.”

“I am honored to have Tim on the team as the director of the Department of Transportation,” said Governor Schweitzer. “I have every confidence in his ability and know he will serve the people of Montana well.”

Reardon has been the Chief Legal Counsel for Montana DOT since 1994. In fact his background is in law rather than engineering. Before the DOT post he had served for more than 10-years as the state’s Workman’s Compensation Judge. Prior to that he worked as an attorney in the division of workman’s comp and in the Department of Health and Environmental Sciences.

Lynch’s resignation has renewed speculation he might run for governor next year. And he did tell the Billings Gazette that’s one of the options he will be considering.

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