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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gianforte Fires Back With New Ad On Stream Access

U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte at January 2016 campaign rally in Helena during his run for governor.
Corin Cates-Carney

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte launched a new radio ad today. The 60-second spot returns fire DemocraticGovernor Steve Bullock’s campaign has aimed at him related to a public fishing access easement on Gianforte’s Bozeman property.

In 2009 Gianforte sued Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks over the easement, saying it was improperly recorded. The lawsuit was settled out of court. Bullock’s campaign says it proves Gianforte is out of step with Montana values.

In the ad, the proprietor of a fly shop recommends the easement as a good place for a customer to fish:

V1: Welcome to the fly shop. How can I help you?

V2: Yeah, I'm taking the boys fishing and I need some advice.

V1: Gear or spots?

V2: Looking for someplace close to get a line wet with some beginners.

V1: I'd say Greg's place would do.

V2: Greg?

V1: Yeah, Greg Gianforte, the guy running for governor. Just down the road on the East Gallatin.

V2: Is that public access?

V1: Always has been. Just down Manley road. You'll see cars parked at the bridge and you can fish right behind his house, it’s not exactly a secret, you’ll probably see some other folks down there, maybe Greg too.

V2: I thought I heard Greg was some guy from Jersey who didn’t want us to fish?

V1: Naw, that’s a load of bull. Greg Gianforte is as Montana as they come. Our liberal governor is lying about him to stay in office – which is about as un-Montana as it gets.

V2: Ahhh that makes sense, you know politicians will say anything.

The Bullock campaign is trying to brand Gianforte as a "New Jersey billionaire." Gianforte has lived in Montana for more than 20 years, and started a software company in Bozeman that he sold in 2011 for $1.5 billion.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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