The Musings of

Something full of magic, religion, bullsh*t.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Montana, revisited

Over the past week or so things have gotten pretty wild in Montana. I've written in the past how control of the entire state House of Representatives was unresolved a full month after the election due to a contested seat and a 50-49 split in the House. The Democrat, Jeanne Windham, had sued to stop the local electoral commission from counting 7 disputed ballots in her race against Constitution Party candidate Rick Jore. The district court had refused to take action and left the race a tie. As a result, outgoing Republican Gov. Judy Martz was allowed to choose who would fill the seat, and, surprise, she picked Jore, which gave the Republicans control of the House.

That was the story as I left it. Since then, all hell has broken loose. At the end of December, the Montana Supreme Court overruled the district court and tossed the 7 ballots, giving Windham the win and shifting the balance of the House to 50-50. The rule is that when the House is split, the Speaker must come from the Governor's party. Since the incoming Governor is a Democrat, the Democrats get the speakership.

The Democrat caucus voted to support Rep. Dave Wanzenried (D-Missoula) as their new speaker. However, just when the Dems thought they had finally won, the GOP turned things on them by voting in unison with 3 dissenting Democrat representatives for Rep. Gary Matthew (D-Miles City), who is generally considered to be more moderate and accommodating than Wanzenried.

God, I love small state politics. It's like watching a soap opera.
Centinel 2:07 PM #


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