Montana Public Radio

Kathleen Williams

Trump's attacks on Jon Tester continue, and spawn new anti-Tester ads. Republican Russ Fagg's new ad plays on fears of illegal immigrants. Two new Democratic ads use humor and personal stories. And House Democratic candidates point out each other's drawbacks in the general election. Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin look at these stories and more, on this episode of "Campaign Beat," MTPR's weekly political analysis program.

The five Democrats competing in their party’s primary for the U.S. House faced tough questions about their electability Thursday night in a debate in Helena.

Moderator Mark Holston pitches a question to Democratic Congressional hopeful Kathleen Williams as, L to R, John Heenan, Grant Kier, John Meyer and Jared Pettinato look on in Columbia Falls on April 28
Nicky Ouellet

With just more than a month before the June 5 primary, the five Democrats vying for their party’s nomination to take on Republican incumbent Congressman Greg Gianforte are still gently teasing out what sets them apart from the rest of the field.

The candidates generally repeated their main stumping points at a two-hour forum on Saturday at Columbia Falls High School, organized by the Flathead County Democrats.

Tonight on "Campaign Beat:" Trump threatens Tester, Republicans debate who's a "real Montanan," and the new campaign ads range from funny to poignant. Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin review this week's Montana campaign news.

The group Helena Youth Against Gun Violence is hosting a "Town Hall For Our Lives" meeting Friday, April 27, 2018.
Helena Youth Against Gun Violence

Students in Helena are hosting a town hall meeting this evening to talk about solutions to gun violence. But their goal of having large non-partisan representation at the event doesn’t look like it’ll happen.

Leaders of the Helena Youth Against Gun Violence Group say they’ve invited all 17 candidates in the primary races for U.S. House and Senate to what they’re calling a Town Hall For Our Lives. However as of this morning, only five of the candidates, two Greens and three Democrats have said they’ll show up.

Democratic candidates for U.S. House: John Heenan, Grant Kier, Jared Pettinato, Kathleen Williams.
Photos by Olga Kreimer

Montana's Democratic U.S. House candidates debate May 3, 2018. The debate includes candidates John Heenan, Grant Kier, John Meyer, Jared Pettinato and Kathleen Williams.

Listen or watch here:

Democratic candidates are divided on health care; a new no-frills campaign ad; some candidates soften their stance on gun control; money can buy political happiness; and remembering former Montana Senator and U.S. Rep. "Doc" Melcher. Learn more on this episode of "Campaign Beat," with Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin.

Candidate Win Percentage vs. Candidate Self-Financing Percentage In Montana Elections Since the 1990s.
Data and analysis provided by the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Data includes all primary and general election candidates on organization's dataset: https://www.followthemoney.org/show-me?s=MT&c-exi=1#[{1%7Cgro=y

The next campaign finance reporting deadline for candidates in Montana’s primary races for the U.S. House and Senate seats is Sunday, April 15.

The reports will reveal details about how the candidates are funding their campaigns, but we already know that, with a few exceptions, the front-runners are wealthier than most Montanans.

From left, Democratic U.S. House candidates Jared Pettinato, John Meyer, Kathleen Williams, Grant Kier, Blair Koch (sitting in for Lynda Moss), John Heenan and Libertarian candidate Elinor Swanson answered questions in Seeley Lake on April 11.
Nicky Ouellet

Nearly 100 people showed up at the Seeley Lake Community Center Wednesday night to meet the candidates vying to challenge Republican Greg Gianforte for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat.

The six Democrats and one Libertarian chatted with potential voters over pizza before settling in for a rapid fire forum.

Kathleen Williams is the Democratic candidate for Montana's lone U.S. House seat.
Olga Kreimer

Montana Democrats are trying to decide who will be their party's nominee to challenge Greg Gianforte for the state's lone seat in the U.S. House.

That'll be a big challenge for the five candidates campaigning to win the nomination in June's primary election, because there are significant splits in the Democratic party in Montana and nationwide.

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