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VanDyke’s background: Conservative ties and practicing appellate law in Texas, D.C. and Montana

VanDyke’s background: Conservative ties and practicing appellate law in Texas, D.C. and Montana

Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-day series looking at the records of Supreme Court justice candidates Lawrence VanDyke and Justice Mike Wheat.

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Flurry of mailers on state legislative races prompting complaints

HELENA — A last-minute flurry of attack mailers targeting Montana legislative candidates is prompting some formal complaints — and Commissioner of Political Practices Jon Motl ruled Thursday that the state Democratic Party may have violated the law on a flier in a Great Falls race.

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VanDyke’s background: Conservative ties and practicing appellate law in Texas, D.C. and Montana

VanDyke’s background: Conservative ties and practicing appellate law in Texas, D.C. and Montana

Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-day series looking at the records of Supreme Court justice candidates Lawrence VanDyke and Justice Mike Wheat.

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Wheat’s Supreme Court record under attack; what’s actually in the record?

Wheat’s Supreme Court record under attack; what’s actually in the record?

HELENA — From high-profile criminal cases to multimillion-dollar business decisions, Supreme Court Justice Mike Wheat has ruled many ways on some of Montana’s biggest cases since joining the court in 2010.

October 29, 2014 5:44 pm Photos

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Controversial mailer on MT SupCo races product of voter-behavior study, which is now under fire

HELENA — The Stanford-Dartmouth political-science study that produced last week’s controversial mailer listing the alleged political leanings of Montana Supreme Court justice candidates is raising eyebrows among academics, some of whom are calling it unethical.

October 28, 2014 12:10 amLoading…
Montana's top political cop wants action, apology from Dartmouth and Stanford

Montana's top political cop wants action, apology from Dartmouth and Stanford

HELENA — Montana’s top political cop is asking two private colleges that sent a controversial mailer last week to 100,000 Montana voters on the state’s two Supreme Court races to send a second mailer disavowing the first.

October 27, 2014 4:30 pm Photos

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Money pouring into Wheat-VanDyke Montana Supreme Court race

Money pouring into Wheat-VanDyke Montana Supreme Court race

HELENA — Outside money has been pouring in to influence Montana’s Supreme Court race between Justice Mike Wheat and challenger Lawrence VanDyke — and political observers say Montanans might as well get used to it.

October 25, 2014 4:30 pm Photos

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State Senate races in Bozeman, north-central Montana most expensive in state

State Senate races in Bozeman, north-central Montana most expensive in state

HELENA — State Senate races in Bozeman and north-central Montana are the most expensive legislative contests in the state, with candidates raising a collective $70,000 in each race, finance records show.

October 24, 2014 4:54 pmLoading…
Tester accuses Stanford, Dartmouth of 'voter manipulation'; demands funding disclosure

Tester accuses Stanford, Dartmouth of 'voter manipulation'; demands funding disclosure

HELENA — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester on Friday accused two prominent colleges of “voter manipulation” for their role in a mailer sent this week to 100,000 Montanans, in connection with two Montana Supreme Court races.

October 24, 2014 4:43 pm Photos

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4th outside group throws money at state Supreme Court race

4th outside group throws money at state Supreme Court race

HELENA — A conservative political group launched TV and radio ads attacking Supreme Court Justice Mike Wheat on Thursday, becoming the fourth outside group spending to influence the outcome of the campaign between Wheat and his challenger, former state solicitor Lawrence VanDyke.

October 23, 2014 4:38 pmLoading…
Senate debate

Senate debate

U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., left, and Democrat Amanda Curtis, prepare to begin their second and final debate in Montana’s U.S. Senate race Tuesday night at the Richland County Fairgrounds Event Center in Sidney, before a packed house of 200 people.

October 22, 2014 6:18 am
Daines goes after Curtis’ oil infrastructure votes; bashes federal government

Daines goes after Curtis’ oil infrastructure votes; bashes federal government

SIDNEY – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Daines, debating Democratic rival Amanda Curtis Tuesday night in the heart of eastern Montana’s oil patch, accused her of helping to kill a $35-million bill to fund public works in Montana communities overwhelmed by oil development.

October 21, 2014 9:15 pm Photos

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Curtis 'amused' by GOP depiction of her as anti-capitalism

Curtis 'amused' by GOP depiction of her as anti-capitalism

HELENA — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis doesn’t deny her sympathies for an obscure union with a radical past — the Industrial Workers of the World — and said she’s “amused” that the state Republican Party is labeling her a “communist” because of it.

October 19, 2014 8:00 pm Related Loading…
Democrats say they have good chance for gains in Legislature, but GOP thinks otherwise

Democrats say they have good chance for gains in Legislature, but GOP thinks otherwise

HELENA — In western Montana’s sprawling House District 92, Democratic candidate Dave Strohmaier says he’s knocked on doors from East Missoula to Condon, halfway up the Seeley-Swan Valley.

October 19, 2014 12:30 am Photos

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Sen. Walsh looks back, and to the future – and says he has `no regrets’

Sen. Walsh looks back, and to the future – and says he has `no regrets’

HELENA — As John Walsh looks toward his final weeks as a U.S. senator, he says he has “no regrets” about his aborted run as Senate candidate — and that he still has some work to do as an officeholder.

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U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis releases 1st TV ad

U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis releases 1st TV ad

HELENA — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis, who’s been in the race just nine weeks, put up her first TV ad Thursday — less than three weeks before the Nov. 4 election.

October 17, 2014 6:00 am Video Loading…
Walsh files final fundraising report; raised $2.65M

Walsh files final fundraising report; raised $2.65M

HELENA — U.S. Sen. John Walsh, who suspended his campaign two months ago, filed his final fundraising report this week, showing he raised a total of nearly $3 million — and had spent all but $119,000 through September.

October 17, 2014 6:00 amLoading…

Groups working hard to keep same-day voter registration

HELENA — Progressive groups are putting money and shoe leather into defeating a Republican-sponsored ballot measure that would end Election Day voter registration in Montana.

October 15, 2014 11:22 amLoading…
GOP legislators ask whether early childhood program is a wise investment

GOP legislators ask whether early childhood program is a wise investment

HELENA — Republican state lawmakers who track education policy said Monday they have many questions about Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock's plan for state-funded preschool — including whether it's the best use of state education dollars.

October 13, 2014 4:42 pm Photos

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Hollenbaugh, Johnson tangle in only contested PSC race

Hollenbaugh, Johnson tangle in only contested PSC race

HELENA — Democrat Galen Hollenbaugh, running for the Public Service Commission in western Montana’s District 5, says it’s not easy to engage voters on the obscure race — but this year he’s finding a spark of interest.

October 11, 2014 6:30 am Photos

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GOP state Senate candidates say Democratic Party mailers are inaccurate smear attempts

GOP state Senate candidates say Democratic Party mailers are inaccurate smear attempts

HELENA — The Montana Democratic Party has sent campaign mailers attacking Republican candidates in two key state Senate races — and the GOP targets say the mailers are grossly misleading or false.

October 09, 2014 4:25 pm Photos

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Daines chats with Bjorn Nabozney

Daines chats with Bjorn Nabozney

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines talks business with Big Sky Brewing Co. co-owner Bjorn Nabozney, left, at the brewery’s Missoula plant on a recent campaign swing. 

October 08, 2014 9:00 am
Daines sniffs beer barrels

Daines sniffs beer barrels

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, the favorite to win Montana’s open U.S. Senate seat, takes a sniff of beer at the Big Sky Brewing Co. in Missoula as co-owner Bjorn Nabozney looks on.  

October 08, 2014 8:57 am
Steve Daines talks with Barbara Crawford and Pamela Dylina

Steve Daines talks with Barbara Crawford and Pamela Dylina

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and Montana Congressman Steve Daines talks with Barbara Crawford of Columbia Falls and Pamela Dylina of Lakeside, right, members of the Patriot Guard Riders, who attended a ceremony at the Florence Hotel building in Missoula last week where Daines handed out …

October 08, 2014 8:51 am

Some cities' employees using state-employee health clinics, other counties considering it

HELENA — Nearly 400 Butte-Silver Bow employees soon will have access to a free, state-run health clinic in Butte — but they’re not the first local government workers with access to the state clinics.

October 07, 2014 5:26 pmLoading…

New state-employee health clinic in Butte will cover city-county employees

HELENA — A new state-employee health clinic is opening in Butte next month to serve workers in Butte, Anaconda and Deer Lodge, prompting some local private health care providers to raise concerns about unfair competition.

October 07, 2014 4:53 pm Related Loading…
Curtis: 'Regular people' can still overcome adversity, become political leaders

Curtis: 'Regular people' can still overcome adversity, become political leaders

Editor's note: A profile of Republican Senate candidate Steve Daines will run next Sunday.

October 05, 2014 5:00 am Photos

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Amanda Curtis

Amanda Curtis

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis speaks with labor representatives at the Union Hall in downtown Missoula, on a recent campaign swing through western Montana. Curtis, a high school math teacher from Butte who became the Democratic nominee just seven weeks ago, faces an uphill b…

October 02, 2014 9:51 am
Amanda Curtis and Donna Mollica

Amanda Curtis and Donna Mollica

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis, right, shares a laugh with supporter Donna Mollica of Arlee at a dinner and fundraiser at the Arlee Community Fitness Center. Curtis, nominated as the Democratic candidate just seven weeks ago, faces an uphill battle against Republican U.S. Rep…

October 01, 2014 4:58 pm
Amanda Curtis and Joe McDonald

Amanda Curtis and Joe McDonald

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis of Butte, speaks with Joe McDonald, Salish Kootenai College’s founder and president emeritus, during a campaign stop in Pablo.

October 01, 2014 4:58 pm
Amanda Curtis and Brian Lipscomb

Amanda Curtis and Brian Lipscomb

At the Kerr Dam overlook on a recent campaign swing through western Montana, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis talks energy policy with Brian Lipscomb, CEO of Energy Keepers Inc., the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ entity that will operate the dam beginning in 2015. 

October 01, 2014 4:58 pm
Federal judge lifts gag order on Montana man criticizing judicial commission

Federal judge lifts gag order on Montana man criticizing judicial commission

HELENA — A federal judge Tuesday said the Montana Judicial Standards Commission cannot prohibit a Montana man from publicly criticizing the panel’s ruling on his complaint, and that the gag rule may be unconstitutional.

September 30, 2014 7:45 pmLoading…
U.S. House candidates Lewis, Zinke contrast themselves in debate

U.S. House candidates Lewis, Zinke contrast themselves in debate

Democrat John Lewis and Republican Ryan Zinke, in their first one-on-one debate in Montana’s U.S. House race, painted slight shades of contrast between themselves Monday night on energy, climate change, the Middle East conflict and health care.

September 29, 2014 9:45 pm Photos

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Daines cites efforts to create jobs for Montana; most have not become law

Daines cites efforts to create jobs for Montana; most have not become law

HELENA — As Republican Steve Daines campaigns for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat, he’s hammered home his message of “more jobs, less government,” saying he knows what the private sector needs to create jobs in Montana.

September 29, 2014 5:00 am Related Loading…
Leading Republican has plan for more Medicaid coverage

Leading Republican has plan for more Medicaid coverage

HELENA — A leading Republican lawmaker Tuesday unveiled his proposal to revamp and expand Medicaid coverage for the poor in Montana — but said it wouldn’t accept additional federal dollars offered to the states under Obamacare.

September 23, 2014 8:30 pmLoading…
In PSC race, Hollenbaugh slams Johnson for fundraising help from energy interests

In PSC race, Hollenbaugh slams Johnson for fundraising help from energy interests

HELENA — Public Service Commission candidate Galen Hollenbaugh said Tuesday that a fundraiser for his Republican opponent, Brad Johnson, shows that Johnson is beholden to big-energy interests rather than energy consumers.

September 23, 2014 3:56 pm Photos

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Feds again funding 'navigators' to encourage signups for subsidized health insurance

Feds again funding 'navigators' to encourage signups for subsidized health insurance

HELENA — The federal government is again funding “navigators” in Montana to help the uninsured buy private, subsidized health coverage this fall — with a new emphasis on Native American consumers.

September 22, 2014 5:36 pm Related Loading…
Bullock outlines options to reduce CO2 emissions without shutting down plants

Bullock outlines options to reduce CO2 emissions without shutting down plants

HELENA — The Bullock administration Friday unveiled five options for how Montana can meet proposed federal rules to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions — and none includes shutting down or curtailing existing coal-fired power plants.

September 19, 2014 11:50 am Related Loading…
Flathead, Ravalli: Still largely suburban and rural – and hard-core Republican

Flathead, Ravalli: Still largely suburban and rural – and hard-core Republican

KALISPELL — While Flathead County is among the state’s most populous counties, Whitefish business owner Dave Fern said it’s a mistake to call it an “urban” county — and that’s one reason why it’s so reliably Republican.

September 15, 2014 4:00 amLoading…
Is Montana a ‘red’ or ‘blue’ state? Lots of both, actually – and very much divided

Is Montana a ‘red’ or ‘blue’ state? Lots of both, actually – and very much divided

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a two-day series on the divided political landscape in Montana, which is neither “red” nor “blue,” but somewhere in between. 

September 14, 2014 6:30 am Photos

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State health officials proposing big expansion of mental health services; Bullock yet to weigh in

HELENA — State health officials are proposing a two-year, $12 million expansion of services for the mentally ill and mentally disabled in Montana — but Gov. Steve Bullock hasn’t decided yet what he’ll support in his final proposed budget.

September 12, 2014 10:30 pmLoading…
U.S. House candidate Zinke outlines education priorities

U.S. House candidate Zinke outlines education priorities

HELENA — Republican U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke on Friday outlined his priorities for education, saying states, rather than the federal government, should dictate school standards and have more flexibility in using federal education money.

September 12, 2014 1:45 pmLoading…
In state’s major congressional races, 1 debate scheduled, 1 other looks likely

In state’s major congressional races, 1 debate scheduled, 1 other looks likely

HELENA — Just eight weeks before the election, an Oct. 4 debate between Montana’s U.S. House candidates is the only debate scheduled for any candidates in state congressional races — but another one appears likely to happen.

September 11, 2014 9:00 pm Photos

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Franke Wilmer

Franke Wilmer

Franke Wilmer, a Montana State University political science professor and Bozeman Democrat running for the state Senate, said a growing sector of Montana’s voters are independents who can be persuaded to go with either party. The conventional wisdom is that independents lean Republican in Mo…

September 10, 2014 9:39 am
Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss

Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss

Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss describes the politics of Gallatin County as like a “jelly doughnut” — Democratic blue at its core and Republican red in the outlying areas. The same urban-rural, Democratic-Republican split often defines politics as a whole in the Treasure State, where neither part…

September 10, 2014 9:39 amLoading…
PSC approves NW Energy’s $870M purchase of PPL’s hydro dams

PSC approves NW Energy’s $870M purchase of PPL’s hydro dams

HELENA — The state Public Service Commission Thursday approved NorthWestern Energy’s proposed $870 million purchase of 11 hydroelectric dams, paving the way for return of the Montana dams to utility ownership 15 years after they were sold off by Montana Power Co.

September 04, 2014 2:15 pm Photos

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Bullock administration enacts hefty 2015 rate increases for state employee health plan

HELENA — The Bullock administration has approved rate increases of 15 percent to 27 percent and lower benefits for the 2015 state employee health plan, which covers 16,000 state employees and retirees.

September 03, 2014 5:05 pmLoading…
Beach supporters' proposed bill lets governor bypass parole board on clemency requests

Beach supporters' proposed bill lets governor bypass parole board on clemency requests

HELENA — A legislative panel Wednesday endorsed bills to revise state Parole Board authority and procedures, including one to give the governor wider power to grant clemency to convicted felons.

September 03, 2014 11:54 am Related Loading…
PSC poised to approve NWE purchase of hydro plants — but on what conditions?

PSC poised to approve NWE purchase of hydro plants — but on what conditions?

HELENA — A majority of the state Public Service Commission appears poised to vote Thursday to approve NorthWestern Energy’s proposed $870 million purchase of 11 hydroelectric dams — although it’s uncertain what conditions it may impose on the sale.

September 02, 2014 4:34 pmLoading…

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