Steve Bullock would maintain Montana's budget surplus
The Montana Constitution provides for a two-term limit for governors of the state. Thus, Gov. Brian Schweitzer can't run again, so he has given his blessing to his protege, Steve Bullock, the present Montana attorney general. Bullock has only one opponent, in the June 5 primary, hence, he is regarded as a shoo-in for the nomination.
The choice of a Republican opponent to run against Bullock is not so clear. There are presently seven candidates for the Republican governor's nomination in the primaries. Since Jeff Essman, the Montana Senate majority leader who was a likely choice for the job, has withdrawn his name from consideration, that leaves two major candidates for the nomination, both of whom have lengthy and distinguished careers in Montana politics.
Ken Miller, a former state senator and former chair of the Montana Republican Party, has been regarded as a likely nominee. However, recently he seems to have been overshadowed by one of his opponents, Rick Hill, the former U.S. representative for Montana.
No office selected in the Nov. 6 general election in Montana will have more impact on the state itself and the direction of the state's economy and well-being than the governorship. The recent poll, conducted this May, showed that a hypothetical election involving Steve Bullock running against Rick Hill would result in an absolute 50-50 dead heat. With no favorite at this point, the onus is on the average, thoughtful voter in the state to determine who will be governor.
We haven't reached the primary election yet to decide for certain who the nominees will be, but I will go out on a limb and say the election in November will involve Bullock vs. Hill.
In that circumstance who should we select? From his present position as attorney general, Bullock instituted a sobriety program to protect kids and drivers and vowed to support education, so Montana's "children can enjoy the same opportunities he's had." He has vowed to hold tight to the state budget surplus maintained by Schweitzer, one of only two state budget surpluses in the country. Rick Hill favors tax cuts for big business and reduced pollution and corporate regulations, while hanging tough on a tight state budget. Who do you favor? On balance, I will vote for Steve Bullock.