Montana’s gubernatorial contest between Governor Bullock and Greg Gianforte is getting all the ink this year and that’s no surprise. It’s hugely important. However, there is another race that deserves your immediate and urgent attention and that’s the contest for State Auditor. Why? Because Matt Rosendale is one of the most radical politicians to ever run for statewide office in Montana’s recent history.
You may know the name Rosendale. You may not. He’s a State Senator who recently moved to Montana from Maryland and ran for Congress in 2014. He spent over a million dollars of his own money (on ads depicting him shooting down drones and talking with a heavy Maryland accent) in the GOP Primary and still only managed to come in third place.
Rosendale, isn’t just dangerous because he’s willing to spend a massive amount of his own money to buy elections. He’s dangerous because of his radical ideology and lack of experience.
As State Auditor, Matt Rosendale would have a seat on the Montana Land Board. That matter because Rosendale has been unabashed in his support for transferring public lands to the state, which would result in their ultimate sale. By his own admission, Rosendale works closely with the American Lands Council. The American Lands Council is an extremist group that wants to shutdown public lands throughout the American West.
The majority of Montanans (a very, very large majority) depend on public lands, rivers, and streams to recreate, hunt, and fish. Rosendale, who if elected would have a seat on the Land Board, wants to strip Montanans of that access and sell those lands and rivers to the highest bidder.
The frightening ideology of Matt Rosendale goes beyond public lands, hunting, and fishing, however. The job of Montana’s State Auditor is to protect consumers and the middle class. As State Auditor, Rosendale wants to strip over 70,000 Montanans of their health insurance. That isn’t protecting the Montana middle class. Furthermore, his ties to the Montana State Fund are troubling.
The State Fund has plenty of critics. In 2015, it came under fire for lobbying “against allowing Montana firefighters to get the care they need when injured on the job.” They have also been criticized for offensive public relations campaigns.
During the 2015 Legislative Session, the Montana State Fund hired TEA Party activist Ethan Heverly to head up their lobbying efforts and liaison to the Leader of the Senator: Matt Rosendale. Ethan Heverly just so happens to have served as Rosendale’s campaign manager in 2014. This is all problematic since the State Auditor is charged with regulating the State Fund. With these ties we can assume that Rosendale will not stand up for workers, firefighters, and nurses – he will do what his former campaign manager tells him to do. This is no exaggeration.
Rosendale has absolutely no relevant experience when it comes to doing the job of State Auditor. Zero. That’s probably why he is the only statewide candidate who is refusing to take part in a televised debate with his opponent, Jesse Laslovich. Laslovich clearly outmatches Rosendale in experience and temperament.
Jesse Laslovich currently serves as the Chief Legal Counsel in the State Auditor’s office; he has nearly two decades of public service experience; he has a record of getting things done for consumers and Montanans. A perfect example has been his crusade to hold air ambulances accountable – a private sector business model that bankrupts families when they’re at their most vulnerable.
Over the last seven years, Laslovich has recovered over $100,000,000 for victims of fraud and over $21,000,000 to working Montanans in disputes with their insurance companies. Jesse Laslovich is what a consumer advocate looks like. He also has the temperament to be a statewide elected official and that’s why he has the support of such a broad coalition of people, from liberals to conservatives.
In this day and age, we could use more elected officials with the class and composure Jesse Laslovich brings to public office. The same cannot be said for Rosendale and his brand of politics.