It’s campaign season in Montana. That means that both the Democrats and Republicans ramp up their operations, hire new staff, churn out press releases, knock on doors, send out tweets, fundraise and update the Facebooks.
Unfortunately for the Zinke campaign (or fortunately for Montana’s sake), these tasks have been a struggle. Zinke and his campaign team have struggled with incompetence and spent the 2014 election cycle stumbling from blunder to blunder. Now, we’ll be the first to admit that campaigns can be tough – late nights, early mornings. But if Zinke can’t even do the basics to keep his campaign on it’s feet, how can we expect him to run a congressional office?
Here are our favorite Zinke blunders of the season so far:
Zinke’s campaign funds run dry. For a man running on the idea that he could help balance the budget he sure has trouble balancing his own campaign budget. Zinke had to make a personal loan to his campaign to keep it afloat. While we know Zinke has some rich buddies I don’t think that’s going to work at the Congressional level. Maybe he could ask his millionaire buddy Daines to spot him?
Campaign spokeswoman talks about violating election law. “Zinke’s spokeswoman, Shelby DeMars said, ‘There is no relationship between SOFA PAC and Zinke. We can’t coordinate right now…’” The problem for Shelby—and the super-PAC Zinke founded—is that candidates and super PACs are never allowed to coordinate. It’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of federal law. But this should come as no surprise as Zinke has exploited the post-Citizens United world to create a super PAC, run the super PAC, quit the super PAC, and then have your old super PAC support your campaign, without coordination (wink wink).
Zinke Ditches Missoula Media to Head to Cali. This one seems like a pretty moderate oversight, but the whole story paints a picture of incompetence. Zinke tweeted that he was going out on the campaign trail at 5 am in Missoula. But he was really heading to the airport, jet-setting off to California for another out of state fundraiser. We imagine he was on the 630 am, probably first class.
Zinke takes credit for Bin Laden raid that occurred 3 years after he retired. If you somehow haven’t heard, Ryan Zinke once was commander of SEAL Team Six. Well, Zinke tried to get some money for work he did not do. His campaign sent out an e-mail with the subject line, “Who killed Osama bin Laden?” When people pointed out that the answer was, “sure as heck not Ryan Zinke” he said, “If you read it carefully it does not say that I killed bin Laden.” And we all know how intently we read political fundraiser e-mails.
A formal complaint is filed against Zinke with the Federal Election Commission. The Campaign Legal Center filed a formal complaint against Zinke and Zinke for Congress sighting perceived illegal coordination between Zinke’s old gig—SOFA PAC and his new gig—Zinke for Congress.
Zinke posts campaign signs in Santa Barbara California. In what we can only assume was a quest for all that out-of-state money Zinke needs for his campaign and for that pivotal surfer dude voter bloc, Zinke placed his campaign yard signs in a suburb of Santa Barbara. The Californians were understandably confused and complained about the signs for this Zinke character ruining their ocean views.
Zinke agreed to debate in Billings, then says just kidding got to go to Texas. Zinke gave Montana voters a new variation on the famous Davy Crockett quote, “You may go to hell and I will go to Texas.” Zinke bailed on a debate that has been going on in Yellowstone County for years. His campaign couldn’t check the schedule and find another time to go get some of that good out-of-state oil money.
Zinke couldn’t play nice—even with friends. Three different former Montana GOP chairmen campaigned against Zinke in the GOP primary for being “pro-choice”. In addition, representative from the Montana Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee called Zinke out for his stance on choice. How did Zinke respond? He called them “liars.” Calling folks liars seems like an odd way to build relationships and trust.
A formal complaint—yes another one—is filed against Zinke. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but some folks were worried that Ryan Zinke was coordinating with his old employer, SOFA PAC. This complaint cited the fact that both Zinke for Congress and SOFA PAC were using the same researcher, Lester Cooper, at the same time. I wonder if Lester ever accidently mixed up his portfolios for Zinke for Congress and the one from the super-PAC supporting Zinke’s bid for Congress?
Zinke campaign has a little trouble spelling. Now this one is probably the most harmless but it does stand to reason, if a man can’t handle his spelling, can he really handle his firearms? While Zinke got a B- from the NRA, he definitely got a D in spelling.