Montana Public Radio

Pat Williams

Shared State Episode 02: 'We The People Of Montana'

Sep 9, 2020

When we say "We the people of Montana," who do we really mean? Who’s included, who’s left out, and what’s that mean this November? Listen now on Shared State, a podcast about what's driving Montana's 2020 elections and where the outcomes could lead us.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney talk with reporters in the State Capitol about state budget cuts, July 25, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The battle against COVID-19 is helping shape the race for governor, giving Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney an unexpected boost as he faces Whitney Williams, a well-financed Democratic primary opponent with an extensive political network.

The pandemic has also upended the Republican race between Attorney General Tim Fox, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte and state Sen. Al Olszewski ahead of what is now an all-mail June 2nd primary election

“With this coronavirus turning the campaign upside down, there is not one single candidate that understands what’s the best way to campaign in this environment," Olszewski said. "Nobody."

Missoula Businesswomen Whitney Williams announces her 2020 run for governor as a Democrat, Oct. 3, 2019. Williams is the daughter of Pat Williams, who represented Montana in U.S. Congress for nine terms.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Missoula businesswoman and philanthropist Whitney Williams announced Thursday she’s running for governor. She’s the fourth Democrat to enter the race.

Williams launched her first campaign for public office in a video Thursday morning and then rallied a small group of supporters on the state Capitol steps in Helena that afternoon.

Former Montana senator and U.S. Representative John Melcher. Melcher died at age 93 on April 12, 2018.
PD

Former Montana Democratic U.S. Senator John Melcher died Thursday.

Melcher’s daughter Joan, says her dad died peacefully at his home in a chair overlooking Missoula’s Rattlesnake Creek.

His 35-year political career included seven years in the House and two terms in the U.S. Senate.

MSU Political Science Professor Eric Austin.
Courtesy of Montana State University

The political climate this year is brutal, with both sides throwing mud and stones at their opponents, a “whatever might stick” mentality that has some questioning whether there’s a better way.

And that’s what a conference this weekend in Helena is all about.

As reported earlier, Montana's senior Senator Max Baucus has been nominated to be the next ambassador to China - pending confirmation by the Senate.