Grassroots politics

Congratulations to our new Missoula County Commissioner, Michele Landquist.    Today’s Missoulian has some nice quotes from Michele explaining the strengths of her campaign:

“I’m excited, but I guess I’m mostly excited that the people in Missoula proved that a person can still run a grass-roots campaign and make a difference,” she said. “I’ve said all along it shouldn’t be about how much money you raise. It’s about getting your message out there to the people, and I think I did that.”

I think she’s correct on this one. I’ve met Michele (we went to Campaign Academy together!) and she seems as straightforward, straight talking a person as you are likely to meet. She strikes me as the sort of person that Montanans like to trust. They can ask her a question and find out what she thinks. I don’t get the impression that Michele makes quick political calculations before explaining herself and her ideas. She’s a smart person, a person who cares about her community, and not someone who is always looking for an angle. No, I don’t agree with her on some issues. But, I sure appreciate her willingness to stand up and speak out. And, I appreciate her willingness to give over the next few years of her life to public service.

What I don’t understand is the title of the Missoulian’s article, Landquist surprises Anderson in county commission race. I guess that Anderson was surprised by his loss, but there is an ambiguity in the headline (as there often is) that suggests folks other than Anderson were surprised by the result. Pete over at 4&20 Blackbirds, for instance, called it an “improbable county commissioner outcome

What was improbable? That a GOP establishment candidate with the support of ‘notable’ Democrats, set up by the never-retiring Barbara Evans, crowned by the development crowd, endorsed by the railroad crew might actually lose? Shock! Horror! Scupper that thought! The voters might actually think differently! Particularly if it all appears to be a set up by all the same power brokers that usually think as though they might run the place.

No, what is surprising is their reaction. And, I suspect the lack of real, honest consideration of the stupid moves that led to Anderson’s demise. Perhaps the Democrats who supported the Republican candidate might get censored by their party? No, I doubt that will happen. Perhaps Barbara Evans will admit she miscalculated and instead of cueing up Anderson for success she set him up to fail? Nope, not likely. And I will forever hold out hope that the pro-growth-at-all-costs crowd will learn that the proud citizens who stand in opposition to their power plays aren’t evil. Those brave few are, in fact, representing the little guy and gal who don’t like being steamrolled.

So, I wish Michele well. She will provide a breath of fresh air into the somewhat stale air of the County boardroom. It may be a whiff of damp sheep that she brings, or maybe it is the wind of new ideas. Either way, it is the smell of grassroots politics, Missoula style!

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6 Responses

  1. i do not think that party politics played much of a role here. i think people of all parties and even some bears who remain independent just wanted some change in the courthouse and they have it now. congratulations Michelle.

  2. I really didn’t follow the County Commissioner election, but I admit that I completely thought Larry Anderson would win. Of course, this was because 1) Seeley strongly supported Anderson, and 2) everyone that I’m working with on this legislative proposal had talked about Anderson’s re-election as a foregone conclusion.

  3. Well, howdy Binky!

  4. Both candidates’ responses in the Missoulian were partially right and partially wrong, IMHO. Sure, Michele had a decent grass-roots campaign but this county turns out Democrats in huge numbers and every Democrat on the Missoula County ballot was elected, with the exception of HD-100. I’ll bet a lot of voters had no idea that Ann Mary Dussault and a few other Democrats had endorsed Anderson.

    Larry blamed his lose on all the Democrats who turned out to vote, which makes sense, but also on all the Democratic “money coming into the area.” Wrong, Larry. You out-raised her $30 grand to $2.6 grand.

    I certainly called this race wrong in my predictions. Wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last, I’m sure.

    Anyway, welcome to the ‘spher, Binky Griptight (great name, by the way). You, too, Megan. Looking forward to seeing you here and also at 4&20.

  5. Thanks for the welcome, folks. One of the things I love about Montana politics is that it is unpredictable – nothing is quite a given, neither liberal nor conservative. Politics is alive here, and we are still sorting through the ideas, the wishes and wants of the people and the best way to pull together a coalition to get things done.

    I agree with Pete in that all the Democrats running in Missoula County got the majority of support (and I hold out hope still for HD100), but nevertheless Michele’s victory is one she should be proud of. After all, Barbara Evans held court for so long and no Democrat could quite get past her at the finishing post.

  6. I’m no fan of Ann Mary Dussault – her endorsement would make me less likely not more likely, to vote for someone.

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