Rob Quist wins Democratic nomination for U.S. House

Brad Molnar
An opinion piece
Photos courtesy of Brad Molnar.  Rob Quist was selected as the Democrats’ candidate in the special election to be held May 25, during a weekend mini-convention.

From a field of seven candidates Rob Quist, longtime Montana musician, won the nomination to run for Ryan Zinkes’ former seat in the U.S. House of Representives as a Democrat.
The last three standing were Kelly McCarthy of Billings, Amanda Curtis of Butte and Rob Quist of Creston, Mont. Quist won the nomination from a majority of nominators on the fourth ballot. Quist defeated Amanda Curtis 90 to 69 in the final runoff.
During his nomination speech he highlighted his years of traveling Montana and his understanding that Montanans believed more like he did, than along partisan lines. Those that spoke in his favor shared the sentiment that the Democratic Party had lost its agricultural base, but believe that Quist can win the May 25 election with the help of rural counties. Indeed Bullock defeated Gianforte winning only 13 of 56 counties and those were either urban counties or rural counties with Indian Reservations on them. Democrats sttatewide carried less than 10 counties and one, Larry Jent running for Attorney General, won only two counties.
Mike Dennison, formerly of Lee Enterprises and now with MTN News, asked Quist if he thought running in a state as a Democrat after Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton by a 20 percent margin meant that his candidacy was doomed. Quist said that he still believed the majority of Montanans were more closely allied with his political philosophies than with Trump’s or any possible opponent.
I reminded him the Congress and the Executive branch were solidly in Republican control and asked what legislation he thought he would sponsor that could make it into law. Quist stated that he would sponsor a law stating campaigns could not last longer than 100 days, so Congressmen would not be away from their legislative duties so long. That it would reduce the need for so much money to campaign with.
During his nominating speech Quist stuck with mainly social issues. He said Congress should strengthen the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it. He explained that people who had worked hard all their lives should not face bankruptcy due to health care costs.” He went on to say, “I support Planned Parenthood and will oppose any attempt to defund it.”
On the question of federal lands in Montana, candidate Quist clearly enunciated that he opposed the transfer of federal lands to Montana “because it steals from our children” and “Montana cannot be bought and should not be sold.”

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