Is #MTSEN GOP Primary Growing Into a Messy Proxy Battle for Zinke and Daines?
Helena – We have what appears to be a messy, growing proxy battle between Sen. Steve Daines and former Rep. and current Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in the 2018 GOP Senate primary.
This week, Senate candidate Troy Downing bragged to SpareFoot about his cozy relationship with Zinke. “In fact it was a dinner with Zinke last summer that set Downing on the path of running,” wrote reporter Alexander Harris.
And later on, Harris writes, “As Downing gets his campaign up and running, he says that his friend Zinke continues to be a source of advice and encouragement.”
Well, isn’t that special.
But Sen. Steve Daines is in a different boat. In audio that leaked a few weeks ago, Daines told a bunch of Washington lobbyists that alleged assaulter Greg Gianforte had to run up the score in the special election to put pressure on Sen. Tester.
Unfortunately for Daines, Gianforte didn’t run up the score, only winning by six points just months after Donald Trump won by 21 points. And that’s after special interest groups were forced to spend millions of dollars to help save Gianforte.
At the time, Daines told the lobbyists that he had lined up “a statewide elected official that I think can beat Jon Tester.”
"Popular" might be a stretch of the imagination to describe any of the statewide elected officials – Tim Fox, Matt Rosendale, and Corey Stapleton – but we assume he was referring to one of the three on the call.
But, he definitely wasn’t referring to Downing, which makes us wonder – is the GOP Senate primary turning into a proxy battle for Zinke and Daines?