by Travis Mateer
When I interviewed Mayoral candidate Jacob Elder in March I asked him specifically what would come out in a tough political race like the one Mayor Engen ran against his last opponent, Lisa Triepke. Elder said things like his youth would be used against him. He said NOTHING about a lengthy sexual assault investigation.
Now it’s the middle of May and the headlines are finally being written about the sexual assault claims:
Last week when the Daily Montanan called Elder to set up an interview, he said he would only briefly address the allegations against him. Elder proceeded to describe the “backdrop” of the investigation and said the allegations arose after he went on a date.
“I had asked her (his date) for a kiss, and she wasn’t OK with it,” Elder said in the phone call May 5.
In the call, Elder said the school conducted an investigation in early 2020 and found he had not violated the student code of conduct. Elder, 28, declined to provide a document from UM that confirmed the result when asked in a subsequent message.
At this point I wouldn’t trust ONE THING candidate Jacob Elder is saying in response to these claims. It has become obvious to me that Elder is a stealth candidate with serious baggage that he tried to conceal from scrutiny. My hope is that he either realizes this race has already been lost, and bows out, or that a REAL candidate throws in before the filing date closes at the end of June.
Jacob Elder’s campaign is going to have a VERY difficult time depicting his critics as Engen cronies now. I’ve talked to at least a half dozen people this past week about the Elder campaign and ALL of the people I’m talking to are both desperate to see Engen out AND now very frustrated about getting their hopes up for a terrible candidate like Elder.
If Jacob Elder persists in his bid to become Mayor then more will be coming out about how he conducts himself because it’s NOT just one claim of sexual assault that Elder’s campaign will have to react to; from my conversations there are multiple women who will speak to a range of interactions with Elder that are very troubling.
Missoula already has a Mayor with impulse control problems, so the last thing this community needs is a younger version of what we are already suffering through. Isn’t there SOMEONE more qualified than this young man, who hoped his refugee story would be enough to drown out the stories (true or not) of sexual aggression?
I agree with Greg Strandberg, Elder’s campaign is done. If another candidate doesn’t come forward before June 21st, then Engen’s fifth term is all but guaranteed.
Missoula deserves a REAL political race that features REAL conversations about what 15 years under the Engen regime has produced for the non-wealthy. We are not going to have any of that if Jacob Elder is the only candidate facing off against our Mayor for life.
If the filing fee for Mayor is a financial barrier for some prospective candidate out there, I know several people, including myself, who will donate money toward that cost, which is just under a grand (not cheap).
We don’t need a showdown between two narcissists who have trouble controlling their own dicks. We need a fucking adult who can keep it zipped in order to do what’s best for ALL citizens of our town.
Is that so much to ask?
You are on a roll of spot-on commentary, which I find quite disappointing given my propensity for debate.
The entrenched power structure in symbiosis with Mr. Engen, reinforced over sixteen years, is both politically formidable, and the stuff of apocalyptic nightmares spawned by subconscious fear within the psyche of one who calls out the Mayor for his Shenanigans. This, I know from my current campaign for Missoula City Council, Ward 1. A consequence of this is that while (in my opinion) a hard-hitting campaign highlighting the harm to Missoula’s working class and longtime-resident retirees arising from John Engen’s cronyism with very wealthy local and out-of-state interests, is essential to defeating Mr. Engen, the aforementioned Engen-friendly power structure’s inherent fear-generating nature practically ensures that any challenger for the Mayoralty, whether or not deemed a “serious” candidate, is likely to run a smiling, platitude-laden campaign not unlike that of Mr. Elder or, at best, like that of the late Walter Mondale’s 1984 losing campaign against incumbent President Ronald Reagan. The similarities between Engen and Reagan in terms of popularity despite scandalous policies, is another obstacle in the path of anyone seeking to dethrone our Imperial Mayor.
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