Sometimes, to defend poor choices, a man’s bravado has his mouth writing checks his butt can’t cash. This appears to have been the scenario facing Sen. Art Wittich in the final hours of filing for legislative office.
First, a history lesson: Wittich and his associates, while safely nestled in the warm embrace of Dark Money, have made it their mission to inform Republicans that primaries are good for the party. They justified this claim by stating that primaries have a uniquely “purifying” power that forces candidates to “own their vote.”
It seems an opponent was listening. On the final day of election signups, Wittich had the opportunity to put his hollow maxim to the test - to finally live by the words he preached. A primary loomed.
Nervous and caught unaware, Wittich began to ponder …
Maybe his singular dubious accolade, a stellar rating on Roger Koopman’s cherry-picked scorecard (TAB), didn’t have the star power envisioned?
Maybe the verdict on his failed leadership would haunt him? Would anybody actually believe the fable that his failure to lead was somebody else’s fault?
Maybe he feared that the voters would uncover his efforts to dismantle public education? Or his reference to volunteer school trustees as members of a “commie” club?
Or maybe, just maybe, it was the zero he received on the Montana University System scorecard? Bozeman is a university town and his constituents might find it unsettling that Sen. Wittich’s only support for the university was empty lip service.
By closing time, Senate Majority Leader Wittich had decided that an open discussion of his record, his leadership failure, and his looming legal troubles was a sure recipe for defeat. He disowned his principles and fled the primary to an uncontested House race. Can anyone say - hypocrite?
Rep. Jesse O’Hara