Sen. Roy Brown will be announcing formally tomorrow that Bozeman businessman Steve Daines will be his running mate. The two of them will kick off a statewide tour similar to Brown's one-day around-the-state swing that he took when he announced his candidacy.
Word dropped in the comments section of this blog earlier this week was that it would be Daines (of GiveItBack.com fame.) This was unconfirmed, however, and there weren't even any other rumors in the blogosphere about it. While that commenter proved to be correct on the name, the commenter's style was rather dyspeptic, and there didn't seem to be much of an understanding of the selection process for a running mate -- which hurt the credibility of that particular comment at the time.
Several other names had certainly been be in the rumor-mill as possibilities, and Brown has made no secret of the fact that he has had serious discussions with a number of potential running mates.
But it is hard to imagine a better final choice for Brown than Steve Daines.
As we noted in our own response to that comment earlier this week, Daines is an outstanding choice for a running mate. He has the kind of tireless energy that can keep up with Sen. Brown. He had himself considered running for governor against the present occupant of the governor's mansion, but the time just didn't seem right for him.
Brown and Daines will have their work cut out for them, running against a formidable politician who has the power of the incumbency.
Just as the current governor, who had no experience in elective office, was wise to choose a running mate with extensive time in the legislature, so too it is a brilliant move for Brown -- an experienced legislator -- to choose an energetic and politically savvy outsider.
A Lt. Gov. candidate of Daines's energy and intellect is a major asset to the ticket. And having a candidate from Bozeman is a distinct advantage, since big Republican turnouts in Yellowstone and Gallatin counties will be lynchpins in a Republican victory this fall in the governor's race.
The lefties will predictably come up with reasons to downplay Daines, but as we have pointed out on Montana Headlines before, Daines is a guy who has shown an ability to make the Dems seriously worried. To quote from that post:
...for some reason that we can't figure out, Daines has Democrats worried. Why else would the governor have appeared recently with a sign behind him saying "We Gave It Back?"
Everyone knows good and well that the surplus wasn't given back -- and Democrats are proud of the fact that they spent nearly all that money on "essential services" rather than giving it back in tax credits or cuts. For them, it was a major political victory won by a no-compromise stance that the money wasn't given back -- a victory they should be proud of.
So why the sign saying "We Gave It Back?"
We of course know why -- the governor and his Democratic allies blew through the billion dollar surplus as though it didn't exist. The only thing that went to the taxpayers was a "check in every pot" election year $400 one-time rebate, rather than real, permanent tax relief.
The last thing that the governor wants to run against is someone who has shown some creativity in demonstrating that the Democrats most certainly did not respond to a historic surplus by saying to themselves "let's give it back." But we're glad that he gets to deal with Daines after all.
For those in Billings, the press conference and announcement will be at at Brown's headquarters on Grand Ave. at 9 AM.
Check your local Republican listings if you are in one of Montana's larger cities, and get out to see Roy Brown and meet Steve Daines when they visit in the next couple of days. Let's see a huge show of support, just as we did on Brown's announcement tour, which had outstanding energy and turnout.
And in the coming months, voters in every corner of Montana will get to meet our Republican Gov/Lt.Gov. team -- we suspect that with every month that goes by, the race will tighten for exactly that reason.
Browsing around, we also note that Roy Brown has a new website -- check it out, make a contribution to the cause, and volunteer to help out.