Democrats SWEEP in Montana
by blogswarm, Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 03:35:41 PM EST
The 6-1 decision threw out a lower court ruling from earlier this month that seven contested ballots had properly been counted for Constitution Party candidate Rick Jore.
The high court declared "one or more" contested ballots in the tied race invalid. Throwing out even one of those ballots means the vote tally swings to Democrat Jeanne Windham, the Supreme Court said.
That, in turn, creates a 50-50 tie between Republicans and Democrats in the House and means the next House speaker likely will be from the party of Democratic Gov.-elect Brian Schweitzer. The party that controls the governor's office in Montana breaks ties in electing House speakers.
Here is some more on the Seven illegal ballots in HD 12.
I believe in a 50 state strategy because of quotes like this from the Billings Gazette:
I now feel more confident proclaiming that Montana is a Swing State.
For the first time in a generation, Democrats are on the offensive. How BIG is this story. Well Montana journalists named the Democratic comeback the BIGGEST story of the year.
This decision not only decided which party control's the Speaker's Gavel, but also decided the membership of the school funding committee that will redo Montana's funding formula for K-12 education (in response to another court decision).
On the flip side, had the GOP prevailed the Republican speaker could have effectively ended Governor-elect Brian Schweitzer's legislative agenda. Montana's citizen legislature meets for only 90 days every other year. So GOP control would have allowed the Republican Speaker to stall legislation for 45 days to miss the transmittal deadline and end the legislative potential of the first half of Schweitzer's term.
Governor Brian Schweitzer, Senate President Jon Tester, and Speaker Dave Wanzenried now have a historic opportunity to prove to Montanans that the Democratic Party is worthy of support. The 90 day legislative session begins next week. They are in control, but not by much. As the Times noted:
Still, the ruling cemented a remarkable political turnaround for the Democrats, who until November held no major positions of power in the state save one United States Senate seat. Even as President Bush took 59 percent of the vote here in November, Brian Schweitzer, a rancher, won the governorship for his party and is now being held up as a model for Democrats looking to make gains in the Rocky Mountain States.
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