Rep. Greg Gianforte, who is at the start of his first full term as congressman, has filed paperwork to run for Montana’s open governor seat in 2020.
As I have written before, this could be problematic for Montana Republicans, who have already given Gianforte the nomination once before only to see him lose convincingly.
I know Gianforte misses Montana. He flies home every weekend on his private jet, but he has done a great job as congressman and may be giving up a safe seat for a treacherous run for governor.
First of all, there are already three capable people running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination — Attorney General Tim Fox, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton and state Sen. Al Olszewski. With Gianforte and his personal fortune in the race, it could turn into internecine warfare. I’m not personally a big fan of Fox, who cleared Gov. Bullock of wrong-doing in destroying all his emails from his own time as attorney general, but all the candidates would be a vast improvement over Bullock.
Meanwhile, Gianforte abandoning his seat in Congress will give Democrats a realistic chance of capturing that seat for the first time in decades. In addition, Gianforte’s move could lure strong Democrats away from a sacrificial bid against Sen. Daines into either the governor’s race or the congressional race.
According to the AP, Gianforte will make his official announcement next week. His campaign spokesman Dan Duffey said Gianforte filed the paperwork “after encouragement from residents across the state.” I have no doubt that some people encouraged him, but I also have no doubt that plenty of people share my skepticism of a second Gianforte run.
The Democrats haven’t put forward any credible candidates yet, but the campaign season is young.
Frank Miele writes from Kalispell, Montana, at www.HeartlandDiaryUSA.com and is a columnist at Real Clear Politics. To support my work, please consider buying my “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy, which documents the downward spiral of the USA before Trump arrived on the scene. The books are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. Thanks! Also visit Heartland Diary on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1FmrOF2TF-njRznqoU4yjA