Montana Democrats cast first political stone of the 2018 election season

Screenshot taken by the Montana Democratic Party’s new video ad – the first of the 2018 election season.

The Montana Democratic Party cast the first political stone of the 2018 election season on Thursday by launching a paid video aimed at the Montana GOP’s list of five candidates vying for a chance to run in next year’s race for the U.S Senate.

The one-minute video describes U.S. Senate hopeful Matt Rosendale as a “longtime East Coast developer” who is loved by Steve Bannon, and it makes note of “anti-choice champion” Al Olszewski who, according to Politico, would not vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell, R- Kentucky, to remain on as leader of the U.S. Senate.

The campaign video – the season’s first – also features “California conservative” Troy Downing and “Trump super fan” Ron Murray. The Montana Republican Party’s newest candidate, Russell Fagg, is billed as an “unethical campaigner.”

Last week, the American Democracy Legal Fund filed a complaint against the former Yellowstone County District Judge, alleging he violated federal campaign finance laws that include campaigning for the U.S. Senate without filing for the seat.

All five GOP candidates are looking to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

“Eight months before the GOP primary, and it’s already clear that the men in this group running for the nomination are wrong for Montana,” said Chris Meagher, spokesman for the Montana Democratic Party. “We’ll continue to hold these folks accountable as they continue to demonstrate just how out-of-touch they are.”

Earlier this week, the conservative political action committee Americans for Prosperity also launched an ad challenging Sen. Jon Tester by pushing him to support president Donald Trump’s unified tax reform plan.

That ad, part of a $4.5 million buy, also targets Sens. Claire McCaskill, Tammy Baldwin and Joe Donnelly, each one a Democrat.

“We’re urging Senator Jon Tester to not stand in the way of achieving real tax form, and instead keep his word to pass legislation that helps unrig the economy,” AFP state director David Herbst said. “This is our activists’ top priority and they want more from Sen. Tester than talk.”

Earlier this week, when asked about the president’s tax plan, Tester said the current proposal does more for the rich and not enough for the working class. Any plan, he said, needs to be fair and work for Montana’s small businesses.

Nor can it add to the debt.

“I think Montana’s small businesses and families are paying more than their fare share, and I think we’ve got an opportunity to do something about that,” Tester said. “This proposal has been evaluated by people other than me, nonpartisan folks, who found that it overwhelmingly helps the rich and very little – not near enough – goes to the folks in the middle.”

As for the ad launched by American’s for Prosperity, Tester shrugged it off, calling it another example of dark money and why it needed to be rid from the nation’s political scene.

“It’s a prime example of why we need campaign finance reform,” Tester said. “I’m focused on my job as a senator, and there’s a lot of folks out there who are focused on trying to move me out of office so they can get someone who’s a ‘yes man’ for someone else in office.”