A group of far-left Republicans in the Montana House and Senate who regularly caucus with Democrats rather than conservative lawmakers, previously known as the ‘Solutions Caucus,’ have gone through a number of names in an attempt to rebrand their liberal image. The group has established a new Facebook page with an adjective added on to their previous name. The Solutions Caucus, which consists of the most leftward Republicans in the Montana legislature, is now calling themselves the Conservative Solutions Caucus.
Voters and constituents immediately responded to the new page and sudden name change by reporting the group to Facebook for using a fraudulent name, scoffing at the additional word that seems to deride, if not mock, regular voters who have noticed their voting record. Others were legitimately concerned the terminology conservative was a bold attempt to mislead gullible voters.
The group, led by Llew Jones (R-Conrad), has an almost ubiquitous F-ranking from Legistats, the impartial and computer-automated party loyalty scoring system. Most of the “Conservative” Solutions Caucus members voted for abortion-funding through their vote to pass the Medicaid Expansion Renewal in 2018.
Conservative Republicans have listed the following candidates as left-leaning Republicans prone to Caucus with Democrats: Frank Garner (Kalispel), Denley Loge (St. Regis), Ross Fitzgerald (Choteau), Llew Jones (Shelby), Wendy McKamey (Great Falls), Kenneth Holmlund (Miles City), Julie Dooling (Townsend), Tom Welch (Dillon), David Bedey (Hamilton), Sharon Greef (Florence), Mike Hopkins (Missoula), Steve Fitzpatrick (Great Falls), Tom Richmond (Billings), Jeffrey Welborn (Dillon), Terry Gauthier (Helena), and Daniel Saloman (Missoula).
That list is not exclusive, and there are likely others.
The Facebook group for the “Conservative” Solutions Caucus is managed by Rob Cook (R-Conrad), now termed-out of office, who also has an F-ranking in party loyalty. In fact, in 2017, Cook was ranked 57 out of 59 legislators in party loyalty, crossing over to vote with Democrats a whopping 244 times in a single session.
This group, now the “Conservative” Solutions Caucus, was previously the Solutions Caucus. Their addition of the word conservative is probably due to the work of party conservatives who have noted that they have a tendency to side with the Democratic Party on important bills. However, prior to that, the group was known as Responsible Republicans.
The origin of this group, while shifting names like a chameleon changes color, originally began in 2007 when the liberal cohort of the Republican Party met secretly in a Helena log-cabin with then-governor, Brian Schweitzer. Since then, the group of leftist Republicans have managed to side with Montana’s Democrats to pass bill after bill to be signed by the Democrat governor’s pen, busting state budgets and growing the size of the state government.