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Friday, May 26, 2006

MT-Sen: Jon Tester has Mo' Against John Morrison

The 2006 Montana Senate primary is one of the most important races in the country for those who want to reform our Democratic Party. John Morrison is in a serious scandal that John Morrison's campaign has bungled.

Yet Tester is doing great, go read a great story on Tester at Down with Tyranny (which added Tester to the DwT Actblue page).

And Kos has a front-page post pointing out Tester's momentum:

That scandal has not only stopped Morrison's early momentum (based on large-scale institutional support both in Montana and DC because of Morrison's perceived fundraising advantages), but it also seems to have lit a fire under Tester to be a more aggressive campaigner. For the first time in months, people in Montana appear to be really excited and hopeful about the Tester campaign.

And the polls look great, making Montana the number two pickup opportunity for Democrats this cycle. Once lagging behind Morrison in the head-to-heads with Burns, the lesser-known Tester now shares a similar 4-point-spread with Morrison against the corrupt incumbent Republican.

Rasmussen. 5/11. MoE 3%. (3/14 results)

Burns (R) 44 (43)
Tester (D) 48 (46)

Burns (R) 45 (43)
Morrison (D) 49 (48)

Tester gives Republicans nary an opening, unlike Morrison's scandal. And Tester is exactly what we need in DC -- a straight-talking, genuine, anti-politician who still works for a living paycheck-to-paycheck. No offense to lawyers, but we've got enough of those on Capitol Hill. I want a Congress that looks more like America. If we did, I have no doubt we'd have better representation.

So if you're someone who complains about the DLC, and about spineless Dems, and about a DC unresponsive to the country, then send $10 of scratch to Tester. This is how people-power works. We get behind good progressive leaders when we find them.

Tester also links to Gwen Florio's piece in the Great Falls Tribune on how trial lawyers are switching support from Morrison to Tester:

Four Democratic attorneys have signed a letter sent to lawyers around Montana, asking them to vote for — and contribute to — Jon Tester over his chief rival, state Auditor John Morrison, in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary 11 days from now.

Meanwhile, Morrison, who had long been scheduled for an hour-long interview Thursday evening with Yellowstone Public radio — one of a heavily promoted series of interviews with Senate candidates — abruptly canceled, saying he wanted to attend his daughter's band concert. [...]

News Director Jackie Yamanaka, who said on the air that no candidate had ever canceled on such short notice, filled the hour with calls on Morrison's candidacy.

"As a former supporter of Morrison, why have you not dropped out of this race so we (Democrats) can have a chance?" asked one caller.

It sounds like Morrison is having some trouble on the home front, which isn't surprising considering all the talk of the affair. Why are big name lawyer's leaving?

Some Democrats say Morrison's admission of an extramarital affair with a woman whose fiance was later investigated by his office makes him a weaker candidate than Tester in the November election against Republican incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns.

That's the theme sounded by the four attorneys who signed the letter distributed by Tester's campaign. [...]

"Most of us know John Morrison, and many of us have given to his campaign," said the letter, signed by Alexander Blewett III of Great Falls, Michael E. Wheat of Bozeman, and Michael J. McKeon and C. Richard Anderson of Butte. [...]

"You're going to have to read between the lines, but I'm supporting Tester for a vast number of reasons," said Blewett, who last year donated $4,200, the maximum allowed, to Morrison's campaign.

He made his donation in May 2005, just shy of a year before Morrison revealed the affair with a woman who later married David Tacke.

Other lawyers just came right out and said it:

The letter writers said they feared the matter leaves Morrison on shaky ground when it comes to challenging Burns on what's perceived as his greatest weakness: his connections to the associates of Jack Abramoff, the convicted Washington lobbyist at the center of a congressional influence-peddling scandal. [...]

"The affair, and the poor way (Morrison) handled the Tacke matter, I think render him impotent in the general election against Conrad Burns," said McKeon.

Wheat added that a Morrison victory in the primary will guarantee a "brutal" general election.

He said he could imagine voters saying, "'I don't care if John Morrison cheats on his wife, but when he does it with the girlfriend and future wife of a guy who's ripping people and investors off ... then that's just wrong.'"

The article also pointed out that Morrison seems to have hit a ceiling in the area of fundraising. With lawyers abandoning Morrison, Tester now has the fundraising momentum:

In the six weeks since the last Federal Election Commission reporting period, Tester raised another $147,000. Morrison raised nearly $124,000, according to his campaign.

If you can, help out Jon Tester!

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