It is eight o'clock in Montana and the polls are just closing. The task we have been asked to do is difficult for me because Montana Statewide election counts are slow to be reported here.
This lack of information leads me to ponder two questions;
2) has the extensive use of vote-a-matic machines ruined election night parties: the clear answer to that is yes. Under the old system poll counters could look at machine's totals and then report them to a central location, or pub allowing for the building of suspense and also subsequently a good election night party. Now we wait with no information for two hours and then it is all announced at once, you catch your breath and go to bed.
All this lofty discussion aside, Montana will, I believe, vote for Clinton in narrow margins. The almost exact 50/50 split in Montana political ideology has kept all races on the edge of their seats, since the last census. The recent money raising news has hurt the democrats, among folks in their own party, because PAC reform is our issue. We should not have lost it to the Republicans for reasons of apparent greed.
It appears the Senate seat will stay Democratic, and the open House seat is too close to call, with a good turnout helping the Democrat Bill Yellowtail. There are a wide range of initiatives which are growing in number each election. The most discussed initiative increases state water quality standards on hard rock mines. This has prompted a avalanche of corporate money and much populist debate. At this writing it's too close to call. Ghosts of our old colonial past, when "the Company" was king.
Montana sits in a rather lonely position in the pacific Northwest. Both rural and urban in political sentiment. The last few elections had Montana being less "new Republican "populist and more centrists than most states to our west. The Republican gains in Washington and Idaho last election are critical to keeping the House Republican. Montana is a no net political proposition so it has been much overshadowed.
There is also a race for Governor
in Montana. This race has been marred by the sudden death
of the Democratic challenger, Chet Blaylock. The race has for some time
been projected for the
Republican win. But this news had no affect on Chet. He was the
constant warrior for good, who
dedicated much of his life to public service and the Democratic party.
He will be much missed and
much admired and as a teacher I know he would remind us that it is so
important to vote, so
powerful. Chet gave his life for this process and each time a voter
votes in Montana they will be
singing Chet's tune.