Opinion: The RINO Morgue Overfloweth


Montana’s fake “Republicans,” a.k.a. “Main Street Republicans,” “Solutions Caucus,” and now “Conservative Solutions Caucus,” suffered one of their worst primaries last night. They’re certainly not a spent force. But after a decade of watching RINOs hand Democrat governors everything they’ve asked for, conservatives can take comfort in at least a few new realities in Montana politics:


Attorney General Tim Fox and his errand boy, Jon Bennion, fueled their campaigns with establishment backing and patent lies about their opponents: e.g., Greg R Gianforte was an inside trader and Austin Knudsen supported Planned Parenthood. Only sycophants were buying it; Gianforte and Knudsen cruised to easy victories.

Matthew Monforton

Last night’s primary undermined another RINO myth: that they can win independent voters in November. When forced to choose between actual Democrats and Democrats like Tim Fox or Joel Krautter who cross dress as trans-Republicans, independents usually pick the real thing.

But last night’s primary makes this debate meaningless. RINOs’ alleged ability to win independent voters in general elections is irrelevant if they can’t win GOP voters in the primary.

Not only did RINOs fail to get their own people across the finish line, they also couldn’t help conservatives who curried their favor. Scott Sales, a former Senate President and former House Speaker who racked up a solid conservative voting record, hedged his bets by scoring endorsements from RINOs like Llew Jones. He still lost.

The RINOs’ failure to deliver big nominations has consequences. Though Llew Jones might not lust for statewide office, there are younger, ambitious RINOs who do. They now have to reconsider their allegiances.


RINO incumbents thought their support of Obamacare-Medicaid Expansion would seal their victories, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. But Medicaid Expansion also increased the pool of Montanans eligible for taxpayer-funded abortions. Conservatives who exploited that issue, like Theresa Manzella and Caleb Hinkle, had a great night.

Annie Bukacek and Matthew Keith Regier deserve a special shout-out. Their PAC, Doctors For a Healthy Montana, successfully tagged several RINOs for pro-abortion votes in support of Medicaid Expansion. Those efforts included a mongo billboard in Joel Krautter’s district. Nancy Ballance, Eric Moore, and Bruce Grubbs were on also on the PAC’s hit list. All of them lost.


When I was in the Legislature in 2015, Nancy Ballance and Eric Moore led conservative factions in the House and Senate, respectively. By 2019, they had become Llew Jones’ most faithful errand boys. GOP voters were not amused. That fact will not be lost on freshman GOP legislators when RINO groomers come knocking on their doors next year.

[Publisher’s Note: This article was written by Matthew Monforton and originally posted on his Facebook page. Shared by permission]


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