Montana Primary Preview

Update: Turnout is expected to be high.

We took a look at South Dakota here. Now it's time for Montana. From a briefing book:

Montana has 16 pledged delegates an 9 superdelegates. It has long been assumed to be in Barack Obama's corner.

Total population: 958,000. The African American population is 0.4%. Latino is 2.5% and Native American is anywhere between 6.3%.

There are 628,429 Registered Voters, not compiled by party.

Because its polls close an hour later than South Dakota's, it will get bragging rights as being the state to push a candidate over the top or at least close out this primary season.

The last Democrat to win in the presidential general election in Montana was Bill Clinton in 1992, perhaps because Ross Perot took votes from the Republican candidate. Bush won big in both 2000 and 2004.


Since it is the last primary, it doesn't get much attention. In the 2004 primary, Dennis Kucinich came in second, with 10% of the vote.

It's an open primary, you don't have to be a Democrat to vote. You just pick the party ballot you want when you get to the polling place. Cross-over Republicans and Independents will play a large role.

Republicans held caucuses in MT in February, at which they chose Mitt Romney, so the primary holds no real meaning for them.

Obama held a 17 point lead in April. He campaigned in the college towns of Bozeman and Missoula. He's aired ads for the past month. Hillary didn't place ads until this week.

Bill Clinton has made several appearances there, concentrating on rural areas. Butte, which has a union history, may tend towards Hillary.

Montana is 90% white with a 6% Native American population. Labor unions were strong in the western part of the state while Republicans distrustful of government interference dominated the Eastern plains.

Montana has a high population of gun owners.

Both candidates have made overtures to the Native American residents:

Obama was adopted by the Montana Crow and given the name Awe Kooda Bilaxpak Kuuxshish which translates to "One Who Helps People Throughout the Land."

Obama said that growing up as the biracial child of a single mother, "I know what it's like to be on the outside…I know what it's like to struggle." He promised to "never forget" his new Indian "family"

"You will be on my mind every day when I'm in the White House," he said.

Hillary has Montana supporters too:

In a speech last week on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation, Mrs Clinton touted jobs for those out of work and better healthcare. She has also pledged to increase money for employment and to fight diabetes among Indian youths. She has also benefited from her husband's record.

Thomas Shortbull, the president of South Dakota's Oglala Lakota College, supports her because Bill Clinton, as president, worked to get more education and housing money to reservations in the 1990s.

"We know what we'll get with a Clinton administration and we don't know what we'll get with an Obama presidency," he said.

Geri Small, the Northern Cheyenne president in Lame Deer, Montana, has also endorsed the New York senator.

As for the picture, it's of the Outlaw Inn in Kalispell, MT. In the 80's I had a case there that required many overnight stays. There was something very fun about going to a strange town to defend a man charged with a crime and have your hotel be named "The Outlaw Inn." Getting there was a pain, even from Denver. Everything was puddlejumpers in those days, where you got on the plane but it was more like a bus that made multiple stops. Sometimes we'd go to Missoula or Bozeman before landing at Kalispell.

< Sen. Salazar: Senators Didn't Agree on Endorsement | Preview of South Dakota Primary >
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    And how sweet and fitting that Hillary should (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 05:27:49 AM EST
    win Montana today!  Once again she has made herself a contender in a state pundits said she wouldn't win.  She is the fighter, she is the game changer, she is THE BEST CANDIDATE to win this nomination...wake up SD's, DNC/RBC, party (supposed leaders)...

    Hail to Hillary....GO GIRL!!!

    Other than the ARG poll, which by (none / 0) (#3)
    by zfran on Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 07:24:52 AM EST
    the way, CNN used yesterday, and the only poll they used, anyone know any other numbers for these two states?

    If you go over to realclearpolitics, (none / 0) (#4)
    by tigercourse on Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 07:41:07 AM EST
    there are two previous polls. For South Dakota there was one taken in March which gave Obama a double digit lead (I think the ARG poll is calearly an outlier). There is also a MT poll from early May that gives Obama a 17 or so point lead.

    Poblano gives Obama (none / 0) (#5)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 08:24:02 AM EST
    both states, MT by 18, SD by 5.  He basis it on the native american vote, which he believes is pulling for Obama.

    Interesting... (none / 0) (#9)
    by AmyinSC on Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 12:59:27 PM EST
    Since a number of Native American tribes have endorsed CLINTON.  But, hey - why should the MSM bother to report any of HER endorsements, anyway?!  (Snark)

    A Montana poll taken May 19-21 showed (none / 0) (#7)
    by Green26 on Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 09:37:22 AM EST
    Obama with a 52-35 lead over Clinton. That surprised me. Both candidates, as well as Bill C., have been in the state alot. Bill spent several hours at one of the main local Missoula watering holes on Saturday evening, and talked to everyone who wanted to talk. Michelle O. was in the state yesterday.

    While I suppose more people may jump to the Obama bandwagon now that there are indications in the press that Clinton may call it quits, I think Clinton has a chance of closing the gap. I'm voting for her (even tho I'll probably vote for McCain in the general).

    The same poll showed McCain beating Obama 47-39, and McCain beating Clinton 51-40.

    Montana is still a mystery to me (none / 0) (#10)
    by MontanaMaven on Tue Jun 03, 2008 at 02:45:11 PM EST
    even living here for 16 years.  Most people here have a Libertarian bent. Most politicians I've met are not idealogical but rather business opportunists.  They see a void, they run in it.  Baucus is a globalist and far from a liberal.  Schweitzer and Tester would be more libertarian.
    There are few FDR Democrats in power, but there are still a bunch of real FDR Democrats who I saw at the polls today.  They shuffled in with their walkers and voted Democratic.  

    Unfortunately the West is a very misogynist place, so Hillary had an uphill battle.  But it was amazing to watch people come over to her side.  Bill made 12 appearances here and Hillary several. Obama did not have as many high profile surrogates, but had the overpowering ground machine.  Obama ran lots of ads cuz he has lots of money.  I thought he missed the mark with his ads with pictures of fishermen.  Yes, the yuppie and wealthy vote.
    Montana needed a champion like John Edwards.  Only Edwards and Dodd had a detailed Rural Recovery Plan.  In lieu of Edwards, Hillary had the best plan for Rural Montana which is actually the whole state.  But most highly educated yuppie hikers could care less about the rural people.  
    Note:  I am highly educated, have a very good job in Hollywood and am married to a 3rd generation cattle rancher, but remember where I came from and see the terrible inequities all around me.  I also believe that you need to put yourself on the line in the fight and not think that going to a rally doth an activist make.