Jeff Essmann

Recent Posts

Prairie Lights: Empty charges erode trust in elections

Corey

After six months on the job, it’s about time Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton started doing his job. Among the duties of the secretary of state, surely one of the most important is to ensure that Montana elections are conducted fairly and that votes are counted accurately. A good secretary of state would do everything in his power to accomplish those goals. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Candidates spar over NDO, climate change

It took about an hour into a 90-minute public forum, but candidates for Billings mayor finally found things to disagree about on Tuesday. Four of six candidates for mayor appeared at the forum, which was sponsored by the Yellowstone Democratic Club. Angela Cimmino and Danny Sandefur were unable to attend, forum organizers said, and a seventh candidate, Paul Bledsoe, has dropped out of the race. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Third candidate, Bill Cole, announces run for mayor

Cole

Billings lawyer Bill Cole is now the third announced candidate hoping to replace Mayor Tom Hanel in the city election this fall. He joins architect Randy Hafer and state legislator Jeff Essmann, both of whom announced their candidacies in the past couple of weeks. Hanel is nearing the end of his second term as mayor, and under the City Charter, the mayor and City Council members are limited to two consecutive terms. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Interest already high in upcoming Billings city election

Paige

With three days to go before candidates can file to run in Billings municipal races, it’s already shaping up to be an unusually interesting election year. Architect Randy Hafer became the first person to throw his hat in the ring, announcing earlier this month that he intends to run for mayor. The mayor’s race is wide open because Tom Hanel, having served two consecutive terms, can’t run again this year. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: A new low for state’s House Republicans

Whips

The 2017 Montana Legislature is not scheduled to adjourn for three more weeks, but I think we can already identify the most craven act of the session. That would be the House’s rejection of a bill to allow all-mail balloting in the special congressional election scheduled for May 25. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Special election could be good test of voter-turnout findings

PM

The confirmation of Ryan Zinke as secretary of the Department of the Interior has created an exceptional event in Montana: the need for a special election to determine his replacement in Congress. According to the secretary of state’s website, a special election has not been held to fill a congressional seat since at least 1912. How this special election, scheduled for May 25, will be conducted is proving to be controversial. Senate Bill 305, which would give county election officials the discretion to run the election entirely by mail, passed the state Senate only after the Republican caucus split on the question, with the Democratic members voting uniformly in favor of the bill. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Op-ed defense of Daines aims low, falls flat

Sumner

I know my colleague David Crisp has already written about Sen. Steve Daines’ role in silencing Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the Senate, but David’s piece was published on Wednesday. That same day, state Rep. Jeff Essmann of Billings, chairman of the Montana Republican Party, also wrote about the Daines-Warren incident in an op-ed for the Billings Gazette. Essmann’s piece was so crowded with misstatements and misleading information that it demands a response. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Spencer may seek Zinke’s House seat

Zinke

Richard Spencer, Montana’s most visible white nationalist, is considering a run for the U.S. House seat now held by U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., the Huffington Post reports. Zinke has been nominated for secretary of the Interior in the Trump administration. If he is confirmed for the job, a special election to replace him probably would be held early next year. Spencer is from Texas and spends a lot of time in Virginia, but he claims Whitefish as his home. He said he would run only if he thinks he could win, but he noted that his entering the race would draw national attention to him and his movement. Continue Reading →

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