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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Gianforte Campaigns By Staying Out Of Sight

Greg Gianforte speaks at a local GOP event in Kalispell April 13, 2017.
Eric Whitney
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Greg Gianforte speaks at a local GOP event in Kalispell April 13, 2017.

Republican Congressional Candidate Greg Gianforte is campaigning differently now that he did last year when he was seeking the Governor's chair. Then, Gianforte convened town halls, held press conferences and publicized his travels. Now, he's maintaining a relatively low profile that keeps him out of the reach of Democratic operatives and protesters who have shown up at Republican events in recent months.

Yesterday he was at a GOP event in Kalispell.

"We have a remarkable thing going on in Washington, DC right now," Gianforte said, "It hasn't happened in a long time. We have somebody doing what they promised to do when they got elected. Isn't that an awesome thing?"

Gianforte's Democratic challenger Rob Quist, has criticized Gianforte for not holding more events ahead of the May 25 special election.

Where Quist is on a more traditional barnstorming campaign tour around the state, inviting the public to rallies, Gianforte has relied on television ads to get his message out while presiding over private events and unpublicized gatherings.

One Gianforte supporter at Thursday's event in Kalispell was Verdell Jackson, who served 16 years in the Montana legislature. I asked Jackson if he thinks Gianforte is doing everything he needs to do to run an effective campaign.

"No," said Jackson. "My experience has been that you have to do opposition research, so that you know a lot about your opponent, and if your opponent tells a lie about you, you have to eliminate that the best you can."

Jackson says he's an enthusiastic Gianforte supporter, and he's upset that Democrats are painting him as an outsider even though Gianforte has been in Montana 20-plus years and built a successful software business from the ground up in Bozeman. Jackson says he thinks Montana Republicans are solidly behind Gianforte, but he's unsure whether independent voters will show up at the polls and how they'll vote in May.
 

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