Joel Krautter (R-Sidney) is arguably the most liberal Republican in the Montana legislature, with an F-rating from Legistats in party loyalty and crossed over to vote with Democrats an amazing 213 times in the last session. He is opposed by all neighboring Republican legislators, his own state senator, numerous pro-life and pro-gun advocates, and the entire conservative caucus in the House of Representatives known as the .38 Special.
However, it’s eye-opening to see who is going out of their way to actively support Krautter in his home district. A coordinated blitzkrieg of letters was sent to local newspapers in support of the crossover party candidate. However, upon inspection, they were being sent by precinct committee women of the local Richland County Democratic Central Committee.
Cara Lokken-Frandsen wrote to the Round-Up newspaper, “I am a Democrat and I know a Republican when I see one. Joel is a Republican friend of mine, as are many other Republicans in this community. The smear campaign that the Ler camp is attempting is less than graceful.”
It is unknown what “smear campaign” Frandsen was referring to, as the billboard expressing Krautter’s pro-choice voting record was put up by Doctors for a Healthy Montana, an Independent Political Committee that is not permitted by law to coordinate with candidates. Nonetheless, Frandsen serves on the Democrat Central Committee in Richland County (see below).
Another Democrat official also wrote in support of Krautter.
Janet Martineau wrote to the Round Up, “In response to Brad Tschida’s editorial comments on House Representative Joel Krautter’s voting record, I as a Montana’ taxpayer and voter the past 44 years, did some research.”
She then defended Krautter against arguments made against him by Republican House Majority Leader, Brad Tschida. Janet Marineau is the Secretary of the Richland County Democratic Central Committee.
Also writing into the Round Up to defend Krautter was Linda Simonson, who voiced opposition to have Richland County Commissioners declare the sanctity of life for the unborn at a town hall meeting at the county extension office on January 20. Simonson occasionally calls herself a Republican when convenient, but is a trustworthy supporter of Democrats during each election cycle.
Simonson also claimed that Krautter was a part of a “pro-life” church, of which she refers to Bible Baptist Church in Sidney. However, church members at Bible Baptist report to the Montana Daily Gazette that Krautter is hardly, if ever, to be found there on Sunday. Krautter frequents other churches during election season as a part of his campaigning but is not a faithful church member anywhere in Richland County.
Why Joel Krautter is running on the Republican ticket when his staunchest supporters are Democrats, no one can fully know, but it certainly speaks to his personal character.