Montana's 2020 election
Montana's 2020 election
The Montana Free Press guide
Republican for U.S. Senate
(Lost in June primary)
Driscoll, of Helena, is a former state representative and Public Service Commissioner who has previously run for the U.S. House as a Democrat.

Key coverage in the race for U.S. Senate

Race profile: The Trump and COVID show

Montana's Senate race pits incumbent Trump stalwart Steve Daines versus two-term Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. The results may hinge on presidential performance and pandemic response — and could change the face of the upper chamber of Congress.

Shared State: Ep. 4 — The quiet beauty of our state

How one aspect of our shared environment, public lands‚ is playing out in Montana’s U.S. Senate race.

Montana PBS debate: U.S. Senate

Video of Daines and Bullock at their Montana PBS debate Sept. 28
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Campaign finance

No campaign finance filings yet on file. Candidates generally file with the Federal Election Commission or Montana Commissioner of Political Practices on a quarterly basis. Federal candidates that haven't raised or spent more than $5,000 aren't required to file reports.

On the issues

Issue statements were solicited from active candidates via a written questionnaire before the June primary election. Answers were lightly edited for punctuation and spelling.

Particularly as the nation deals with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, what federal action would you support to help create good, high-paying jobs for Montana workers?

Fund (jointly with Canada, Russia, China and railroad and aerospace manufacturing) the design, joint international right of way procurement through Canada and Alaska, beneath the Bering Strait and through Siberia to China, and construction at Malmstrom Air Force Base of U.S. international high speed passenger rail terminal. Jointly fund (with private and state interests) the design and construction of a (minimum) 62% efficient MHD coal-conversion plant and carbon-sequestration facility at Colstrip. Jointly fund with all potentially responsible parties a combination dam safety retrofit (overseen by Army Corps of Engineers) of Yankee Doodle Tailings impoundment above Butte, and include in the design the maximum possible pumped hydroelectric storage capability to be used to firm Montana wind generated energy. Electrify BNSF Railroad and Montana Rail Link, while also transmitting electricity over Marias and Mullan Pass to the BPA system and coastal load centers.

What separates you from your primary opponents as your party’s best candidate to represent Montana in Washington, D.C.?

Nothing significant will change in Washington D.C. will happen until senators and House members are held to a scrupulous graft-sensitive campaign standard, regardless of how much donors want to express their free speech in the form of campaign cash. Having been an effective legislator, I know that the sponsor of such a radically different approach to regulating campaign money, to be heard as other than a hypocrite, must first get to the Senate or House without the taint of excess campaign cash from any donor. I’ve drawn the scrupulous line against graft as a donation equal to or less than the $1,740 filing fee. I advocate that any amount greater, in a scheduled finance report, should immediately disqualify a candidate before Election Day. Since all other candidates are content to treat a vice as a virtue, I’ll be the only one in a position to put the hammer down on graft. This will improve citizen trust in our government (see PEW polls and Transparency International corruption findings).

If elected to the Senate, how would you attempt to bridge partisan divides to represent the concerns of Montanans who don't share your political orientation in Washington D.C.?

I’ve already moved from the democrat party, where I have an exemplary record across the board, to the Republican Party, where I feel in strong agreement with its founder, Abraham Lincoln. After many years of working with Montana Republicans, I feel certain they are not of one mind with the current titular head of our party. In my mind he has so far been successful as the great demagogue of our time and the king of grafters. I can see a way ahead to work with him if he begins to act his age, which is identical to mine. For reference on our age-appropriate behavior, read Erik Erikson’s Stages of Human Development. Otherwise expect no problem working with fellow members of the Senate Republican caucus to check and balance his actions in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.

Would you have voted to convict President Donald Trump of abuse of power or obstruction of justice based on the evidence presented to the U.S. Senate in his impeachment trial earlier this year? Why?

Yes. By the time his case was passed by the House to the Senate, his guilt was so evident as to convince the then serving members of the Senate Republican caucus to exercise their only remaining option: not call witnesses for the first time in removal trial history and call their actions “a trial.” The guilty office holder provided the narrative for the self-deceiving senators, but the combination of actions was a whitewash.

Do you see reining in the federal debt as a priority? If so, how should that be accomplished? If you support new taxes, whom specifically should that burden fall on? If you support spending cuts, which specific places in the federal budget should be targeted? (We assume that working to minimize waste, fraud and abuse is a given.)

What our government will have to do will be extremely difficult and will place a premium on public confidence that decisions are needed, fair, even-handed and without payback, by any means, to campaign contributors. Taxes will have to go up for everyone, with particular effort directed to changing back to tax formulas that were in place before the Ronald Reagan tax cuts, not to mention the reductions implemented during the first two years of the Donald Trump administration. At the same time the pandemic-related hemorrhage of appropriations to “get our country back to where it once was” will have to cease after one last, carefully planned “surge” of federal funds to jump-start the economy, once it’s clear which aspects are still functioning as before. Airlines won’t return to past patterns as long as COVID-19 lurks, even with sufficient testing. We’ll have to cut Air Force ICBM and Navy outlays, seeing what hyper-glide vehicles and weaponized COVID-19 can do.

Do you support keeping the Affordable Care Act in place? What if any alternate federal policies would you support to promote Montanans’ access to safe, affordable health care?

As a practical matter it seems wise to keep all present health care programs in place, while substantially expanding a range of ways to reach under-served or exposed populations. If those new ways prove more attractive to some who are already being served try to offer a pathway across to the new program or programs.

Do you believe the federal government has enacted effective policies to keep Montana’s family-owned farms viable businesses? If not, which pieces of federal policy would you push to change?

Family farms were in big, big trouble before the pandemic. As I answer this I know they are now really getting clobbered by the double whammy of disturbed agriculture supply and distribution systems and being elbowed out of relief programs by larger agriculture organizations. Frankly, I’m expecting the worst. The phrase “deep survival” comes constantly to my mind. A few will survive in some form, but I expect more will fail. I’ve been through that experience. It’s bad. If there are unusual or unorthodox initiatives by “deep survivors,” I can only promise to watch for them and help where possible.

Should the federal government consider transferring some federally held land into state ownership?

No. However, there may be opportunities to encourage the use of federal and private lands to provide self-sustainment, including housing, to large numbers of displaced families.

Do you support the Montana Water Rights Protection Act implementing the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes Water Compact in its current form before Congress?

Yes, including transfer of the Bison Range to the Confederated Salish-Kootenai.

Stay tuned for more

We'll be updating this page with new information through Election Day in November 2020.

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