by William Skink
How badly does the political status quo in Missoula want to protect itself from pesky critics like Jesse Ramos? Would they be willing to spend $41,000 dollars for multiple primary elections in order to keep democracy from producing another Ramos and challenging Engen’s fiefdom? You bet they would!
If the link between City Council primaries and Jesse Ramos is not clear, then here’s some reporting from the Missoula Current that brings some clarity to why unnecessary primaries are going to be held in Missoula:
While the city will conduct a primary to ensure that only two candidates appear on this November’s ballot, it has permitted more than two candidates on the ballot in the past.
In the 2015 general election, three candidates appeared on the ballot in Ward 6. In 2017, Ward 3 saw three candidates on the ballot, while Ward 4 saw four candidates.
That latter election saw two left-leaning candidates split each other’s vote, essentially handing the seat to right-leaning council member Ramos, who also ran a strong campaign.
Vote splitting is nothing new, and plenty of Democrats in Montana have benefited from libertarians peeling off votes from conservatives. We wouldn’t have Senator Tester otherwise.
But poor Missoula Democrats have had to suffer the indignity of political criticism from a young politician who had the temerity to not march in lock-step with the liberal flock who rubber stamp Engen’s dictates. This simply can’t be allowed to happen again, and thanks to these primaries, it more than likely won’t.
As I said at the top of this post, the cost to keep another Ramos from getting elected is going to be $41,000 dollars. While that may seem like a lot of money to us lowly serfs, for the political status quo that runs this town it’s nothing more than another traffic study or a few dozen feet of sidewalk.
So why would an elected official think twice about this expenditure if it means not having to listen to criticism of the Mountain Water litigation or providing a platform for another Ramos to question the MRA skim & give scheme?
Answer: they won’t.