Campaign Beat: Abortion, Harassment And Big Money

The new governor will both uphold Montanans’ entry to authorized abortion or limit that entry. New TV adverts within the Senate race query, and defend Gov. Bullock’s therapy of ladies. New polls in that race present contradictory outcomes. And the 2 candidates for Secretary of State differ on whether or not Montanans ought to vote by mail.

Listen now on Campaign Beat with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Sally Mauk The two candidates for governor, Mike Cooney and Greg Gianforte had a debate this week that bought fairly testy fairly fast. They each accused the opposite of mendacity about their information after which predicted dire penalties if their opponent wins.

Rob Saldin Yep, that is about proper. You know, we truly bought each of the gubernatorial debates inside only a few days of each other. This week, I assumed Cooney was particularly sturdy within the first debate on MTN. In truth, I believe that is most likely the spotlight of his marketing campaign. The second one on MontanaPBS coated a whole lot of the identical floor as first debate. For his half, I assumed Gianforte did high-quality in each of them and he simply sort of carried himself with that calm confidence of a candidate who thinks that he will win.

Mauk Probably probably the most heated change, Rob, got here once they have been requested about the potential of a brand new Supreme Court justice resulting in the overturning of Roe vs. Wade and the top of authorized abortion. Here’s that change.

[Gianforte]: “The Cooney Bullock administration vetoed a invoice that may have offered medical care to a child born alive from a botched abortion. You heard me proper. If a child was born alive from a botched abortion, I believe we should always all be capable of agree, that defenseless little child ought to get medical care. The Cooney Bullock administration vetoed that invoice. I’d have signed that invoice. I’m pro-life. He just isn’t solely pro-abortion, apparently he’s professional infanticide as properly. And that’s simply not a Montana worth.”

[Cooney]: “Oh, Greg, that is excessive. You know, I’m simply gonna inform you proper now, I help a lady’s proper to make her most private well being care selections. What you simply described, , doesn’t occur in Montana. It doesn’t occur. Greg, you aren’t telling the reality. You are simply enjoying on individuals’s feelings. And that’s simply incorrect. You know, you are working for governor of the state of Montana, you have to lead by instance. You do not need to try this. You’re keen to say no matter it takes to attempt to get your self elected.”

Mauk So Rob, the invoice they’re speaking about was vetoed by Governor Bullock, who argued federal legislation already covers their considerations. And the change, I believe, reinforces the idea that Gianforte, if elected, would signal payments looking for to restrict abortion in Montana. I believe that was fairly clear.

Saldin Oh, for certain. And he himself made that very clear. You know, strip apart the rhetoric and the accusations, Gianforte put it very immediately. He made the important thing level. There’s a giant distinction between a pro-life candidate like himself and a pro-choice candidate like Cooney. And even leaving apart a state of affairs by which the Supreme Court overturns Roe, which might kick abortion again to the states to cope with, even leaving that apart, it issues an ideal deal who’s governor. Because even with Roe intact, there’s nonetheless loads of house for the Legislature to enact new restrictions on abortion. And in truth, we do not have to simply think about that sort of state of affairs, as you counsel, Sally. I imply, we have seen that play out in current legislative classes. Bullock has vetoed a number of abortion payments that have been handed by the Legislature. And there isn’t any doubt {that a} governor Gianforte would’ve signed these. And for the reason that primaries final spring, we’ve not talked all that a lot in regards to the Legislature. But there’s each purpose to assume that Republicans will, once more, have giant majorities within the statehouse come January. So I count on those self same payments to be again. And after all, there’s all the time the potential of extra, particularly if pro-life legislators know that they have an ally within the governor’s workplace. So backside line, Gianforte would signal these payments. Cooney would veto them.

Mauk Holly, within the Senate race, each Steve Bullock and a PAC supporting Steve Daines have a bunch of latest TV adverts on the air, together with a pair that concentrate on Bullock’s therapy of ladies. Here’s the Daines advert.

[Narrator] “We know Steve Bullock used his place to assist his family and friends make money. But there is a darker facet. Bullock’s most senior political aide was caught sexually harassing ladies. Bullock knew in regards to the harassment, however mentioned nothing, remaining silent when the aide took one other job the place he harassed ladies once more. Steve Bullock coated for his buddy on the expense of those ladies. Think about that.”

Mauk This advert, Holly, refers to Bullock’s former aide, Kevin O’Brien, who went to work for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and bought caught for a second time sexually harassing ladies. De Blasio chastised Bullock for not warning him about O’Brien, and Bullock ultimately apologized.

But such as you mentioned that is speaking about Kevin O’Brien. He labored with Bullock again when he was Attorney General, on his 2012 governor marketing campaign, then was deputy chief of employees for Bullock when he was governor in 2013. Then in 2015, Bullock made O’Brien his consultant when Bullock was chair of the Democratic Governors Association. That’s the place O’Brian was first accused of sexual harassment, and after an investigation into these claims, he was fired in 2015. Later, such as you mentioned, employed by Bill de Blasio. Bullock knew in regards to the purpose O’Brien was fired from the DGA in 2015, however didn’t inform de Blasio about that earlier than O’Brien was employed. Bullock, in interviews after this information broke, with reporters and with editorial boards, did say that he did not do sufficient to guard ladies after he discovered O’Brien had been employed by de Blasio, which she mentioned he realized about after the rent they made. But Bullock did say fairly clearly he may have finished extra to guard girl. So it does open him as much as these assaults.

Mauk Here’s the Bullock advert responding to the cost he does not deal with ladies properly.

[Narrator] “If out of state secret money teams need to discuss how Steve Bullock ran his workplace, they need to have talked to me or any Montana girl who truly labored there. Because Steve Bullock took unprecedented motion to make Montana ladies safer within the office with necessary sexual harassment coaching for each state worker. Governor Bullock ended secret settlements. If you harass ladies, you may be held accountable. Steve Bullock would not tolerate something like that for one second. That’s the actual file.”

Mauk This advert Holly advert options ladies who’ve labored for Governor Bullock.

Michels It does. And I believe it sort of makes an fascinating level. To me, , Bullock right here, he has ladies who work for him now and who’ve prior to now saying that, , he would not tolerate harassment. It will get fascinating for those who have a look at this in comparison with that we simply heard from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, , on the high of the Republican ticket you’ve got bought President Trump, a candidate who’s been accused of sexual harassment by greater than two dozen ladies. Remember again in 2016, in October that yr when information of the Access Hollywood tape the place you possibly can hear the president discuss sexually assaulting girl, , appeared at the moment that may very well be a candidacy ender. We all noticed how that turned out. I believe it is fascinating, , Bullock is working this advert in response. We hear from girl who labored for him saying he does not tolerate harassment. You know, defending his personal file, not stating the problems with Trump.

Mauk An area TV station, Holly, additionally did a narrative not too long ago that featured state college superintendent Elsie Arntzen accusing Governor Bullock of discriminating in opposition to her as a result of she’s a lady. And as we have talked about earlier than, Arntzen and Bullock have had a working feud. But I do not assume Arntzen is essentially seen as an avatar of feminism Holly.

Michels This story, I believe, such as you say, is reporting on unsubstantiated claims and points that have not risen to formal complaints. But it does embody this declare from Arntzen, who’s suggesting that Bullock does not like working with ladies. Important to level out Arntzen, Republican, is looking for reelection this yr. Her and Bullock have had some clashes over her dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic. But even inside this story, , it says that when pressed, Arntzen mentioned that the governor’s by no means mentioned something in her presence that may lead her to imagine he does not like working with ladies, however she nonetheless questions it. So, sort of, this story appears to be throwing some rumors round with some issues that superintendent of public instruction has advised. And, , I believe, , we see this story on social media. Republicans, , the identical group that ran that first advert is push this story out, attempting to type of additional their message. But I believe it is a story that does not have a whole lot of precise info or verified issues backing it up.

Mauk Speaking of TV adverts, Rob, our Senate race is breaking all marketing campaign spending information. And that money has apparently paid for extra adverts than any Senate race within the nation this election season.

Saldin I imagine it. Yeah, that is a quite doubtful distinction. But we’re primary in terms of TV adverts for a Senate marketing campaign. You know, it is simply one other indication, , for those who comply with the money, one other indication that everybody is anticipating this one to be actually shut.

Mauk Well, what do you make of current polls? Rob displaying Trump slipping in Montana, and conflicting polls displaying Senator Daines forward within the Senate race by a wholesome margin? And one other ballot that exhibits Governor Bullock forward by some extent. It does look like we’re getting some conflicting data in these current polls.

Saldin Yeah, properly, we certain are. You know, the one I believe that has perhaps bought probably the most consideration is that this one out this week from Emerson, which is one which I’m simply fairly skeptical of. All the polling that we have seen on the market on that Senate race, and the opposite ones, for that matter, it is all been very regular and constant. On the Senate all of the polling has proven the race throughout the margin of error, which means that from a statistical standpoint, it is a tie. So this Emerson one was very a lot out of preserving with that. And these outcomes weren’t simply a difficulty with the Senate, additionally they had Gianforte up 12 and Trump up 13 in Montana. And these are only a very completely different story than every little thing else we have seen up up to now. And once more, I’m simply skeptical that this Emerson ballot is capturing an actual swing in the direction of Republican candidates. And that is as a result of for those who have a look at all of the nationwide polling during the last 10 days or so, it is proven the precise reverse. That since that first presidential debate, the underside has fallen out for Trump particularly and to a lesser extent for Republicans normally. Now, I suppose it is potential that Montana is bucking that pattern and driving laborious in the wrong way. But that is simply not the way in which that this stuff often work. We’ll have to see extra polling knowledge to know for certain. And I do assume that we’ll be getting a minimum of one dependable ballot within the subsequent week that may present extra readability.

Mauk Holly, the 2 candidates for secretary of state, Republican Christi Jacobsen and Democrat Bryce Bennett supply one other actual distinction in a race. They disagree over mail voting, with Jacobsen against it and Bennett in favor. And additionally they disagree over whether or not voters ought to be capable of register online. That’s one thing Bennett favors as properly. Here’s what he mentioned.

[Bennett] “My file is about ensuring that our elections have the best integrity, as a result of I do know that Montanans count on that.”

Mauk But Jacobsen opposes online voter registration. Here’s what she mentioned.

[Jacobsen] “We have to hold Montana particular and never turning it into California or Colorado.”

Mauk It’s clear Holly these two candidates would run the secretary of state’s workplace very in a different way and can be very completely different high election officers within the state.

Michels This is among the few instances within the debate that they had a number of weeks again the place they bought into points and variations that felt actually associated to the secretary of state’s workplace. Jacobsen, like we heard, was essential of Bennett for supporting each the choice for counties to carry the June and November votes this yr principally by mail due to the pandemic. And she was essential of the concept of online voter registration, saying that she does not imagine it is labored properly in different states.

Bennett mentioned he is open to instruments like that as a result of he believes it could assist increase entry to voting. And he additionally mentioned that Montanans this yr should not be put ready to have to decide on between their well being and the chance to vote. We additionally heard on this debate, , Bennett went after Jacobsen attempting to tie a whole lot of the issues which have plagued the present secretary of state’s workplace the place Jacobsen is now a deputy. Those embody excessive profile issues like errors in a voter information from 2018 that price greater than 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 {dollars} to repair. There can also be the present secretary of state’s misuse of a state owned pickup. They additionally talked about claims of nepotism associated to members of Jacobsen’s household who’s been employed on the workplace. That’s one thing that was flagged in a legislative audit. Jacobsen, for her half, tried to play up what she mentioned had been successes of the workplace, like decreasing the dimensions of the employees, chopping workplace rental house price and transferring enterprise registration online.

She additionally attacked Bennett for issues, she known as him anti-gun and anti-life and mentioned he supported defunding the police, which Bennett mentioned wasn’t true. Those assaults actually aren’t about something immediately associated to the secretary of state’s workplace, however extra, we talked about this loads this cycle, Republicans attempting to play up Democrats as being this concept of too liberal.

Mauk Well, only a reminder to everybody that ballots are being mailed out right now. So voting is starting in earnest. And Holly and Rob, I’ll discuss to you once more quickly. Thanks.

Campaign Beat is a weekly political evaluation program produced by Montana Public Radio. Campaign Beat options University of Montana political science professor and Mansfield Center fellow Rob Saldin, and Lee Newspapers Capitol Reporter Holly Michels and host Sally Mauk.

Listen now: Shared State

Montana’s 2020 election can be among the many most contentious and intently watched within the nation. The neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race may swing management of the “world’s most deliberative physique.” The governor’s race, which Republicans haven’t managed since 2004, is more likely to be simply as hard-fought, with a two-term Democrat leaving workplace in a state that voted for Donald Trump by 20 factors the final election.

But beneath the headlines, deeper points are at play. Learn extra about them with Shared State, a brand new sequence from Montana Free Press, Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio in regards to the hidden values driving Montana’s 2020 elections and the place the outcomes could lead on us.

Tune in on Montana Public Radio Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. Listen at our website or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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