In the last week before Montanans choose their government, the statewide Democratic candidates are coming to the Hi-Line to connect with local voters and ask for their support.
Coming in from the west, the candidates — U. S. Sen. Jon Tester, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Steve Bullock, U.S. representative candidate Kim Gillan, Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, Attorney General Candidate Pam Bucy, Secretary of State Linda McCulloch and State Auditor Monica Lindeen — are touring Montana’s Indian reservations this week, with a stop at Fort Belknap Indian Reservation’s Red Whip Recreation Center from 4 to 6 p. m. Wednesday, then another at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation’s tribal council chambers from 8 to 10 a. m. Thursday.
But in between, the whole crowd will stop by Hi-Line Lanes in Havre, at 6:30 p. m. on Oct. 31.
The statewide and federal candidates will join state Legislature candidates Greg Jergeson, Karen Sloan and Brenda Skornogoski in meeting with voters at the bowling alley and explaining why their leadership would be best for Montana and the Hi-Line.
Hill County Democratic Party Chair John Musgrove said that a visit of this size is unprecedented.
“I don’t know when in past election cycles that we’ve had all the statewides and the people running for national office here in Havre, ” Musgrove said. “It’s the last push before the election. ”
Stacey Otterstrom, political director of the Montana Democratic Party, explained why the last push is so comprehensive in a press release about the reservation tour.
"Our candidates are responsible leaders who have a deep commitment to Montana's Indian communities, and we look forward to visiting all of them in the days ahead, ” Otterstrom said. “This election is critical for the future of Montana, our country, and the government-to-government relationships we honor in our state. We'll be working hard to earn every vote and get out every vote possible on and before Election Day."
Musgrove agrees about the importance of the election. He said that he and other Hi-Line voters saw some worrying developments in the state Legislature over the past few years that the Democratic candidates hope to overcome.
“I’ve always felt that we knew what the majority of the folks in this northern area really needed for representation at the state level, ” Musgrove said. “We should never ever be represented by extremes in either party. We don’t need extremes. We need people to work together. ”