Democrats Fill all 125 Legislative Seats, First Time in Over 4 Decades
(Helena) – As the doors to the Secretary of State's office closed on the last day to file for the 2014 ballot, Democrats didn't leave a single office without a Democratic candidate. All 125 seats in the Montana Legislature have a Democratic candidate, with just 109 seats with a Republican candidate running.
Lauren Caldwell, Director of the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the wing of the Democratic Party that works to elect Democrats to the Montana State Legislature, said at a press conference today, "We are not taking a single district for granted and we are not leaving a single district without a Democratic candidate. Democratic candidates are teachers and firefighters, farmers and ranchers, small business owners, mothers, fathers, and grandparents. They are energized and engaged, and they are running because they've witnessed the failed Republican leadership of the last two legislative sessions and they are stepping up to restore responsibility to the Montana Legislature."
The diversity of the Democratic slate of legislative candidates is unprecedented. Nearly 50% of the Democratic candidates are women, and 11 of the Democratic candidates are Native American.
Caldwell also pointed to the ongoing division in the Republican Party, "While Democratic candidates truly represent Montana and Montana values and stand united, Republicans are deeply, deeply, deeply divided. They are using hundreds of thousands of dollars of dark money against one another and will likely enter the next legislative session just as unable to reach solutions and pass responsible legislation as they were during the last two sessions."
At the end of the last legislative session, a group of Republicans defected from their leadership, identifying themselves as "Responsible Republicans". That division has escalated into over 40 primaries across the state, including many primaries against incumbent legislators in the House and Senate.
By the Numbers (according to the Montana Secretary of State website as of 3/11/14 ):
- Seats filled: 125 (0 unfilled)
- Total candidates: 153
- Seats with primaries: 25
- Women candidates: 67 (44% of total; exactly 50% of Senate candidates are women)
- Native American candidates: 11 (not including 2 additional Native American legislators not up for election this year)
- Seats filled: 109 (16 unfilled)
- Total candidates: 150
- Seats with primaries: 40 (including many against incumbents)
- Women candidates: 28 (19% of total)
- Native American candidates: 3