Happy Veterans Day, and a huckleberry nomination

Happy Veterans Day, Dick Haines, to you and other vets – and to Diane Sands on the left whether you’re a veteran or not (I don’t know).

That’s me on the other side. The photo is from the fairgrounds last night, where the Missoula County Elections Office was counting accepted provisional ballots.

Sands came out ahead in that district, SD-49, but Haines can still call for a recount if he puts up the money. He was thinking on it last night.

I bet his people will push him to do a recount, but the outcome won’t change if he does. I hope he decides soon, one way or the other.

As you can see, Democrat Sands and Republican Haines ran a friendly race. I wish federal races could take a lesson from these guys and leave out the nasty TV commercials.

Yesterday, I learned a few things as we waited for the final count. Here they are, in no particular order:

– Missoula County wants a huckleberry. Just one little huckleberry! Here’s why: On Election Day, the elections center registered 785 people to vote and served more than 1,000. Hooray! Anne Hughes, PIO, told me no one waited for more than 35 minutes.

That’s a big improvement from 2012, when some people waited more than 3 1/2 hours. The best part this year? A food vendor was on site. You won’t wait to register if you’re hungry, right? I promised I’d submit a nomination. On Fridays, our editorial board doles out huckleberries and chokecherries, if you’re wondering what this huckleberry request is about. I’m also posting a recipe for huckleberry crumble cake pictured above. Yum! (Photo credit: Kurt Wilson.)

– Ann Mary Dussault, Sands’ S.O., will spend some time in Mexico while Sands is in Helena, assuming she keeps the win. Dussault has seen manta rays fly out of the sea and whales calving.

– If Haines calls for a recount and ends up ahead, his sweetheart, Bunny Haines, would go with him to Helena. She said it’s the wives who hold it all together there. I asked if she would include husbands of legislators, too, but she said not so much.

– Democrat Kimberly Dudik won, and Independent Gary Marbut was not at the fairgrounds. The race for HD-94 was tight, but it wasn’t ever listed as a possible recount, so maybe that’s why Marbut wasn’t present. I couldn’t help but imagine him busy at the shooting range, though he probably has other skills we don’t even know about, like growing award winning tomatoes.

All for now.

– Keila Szpaller

Zingers from Zinke’s fellow GOP’ers headed to the U.S. House

Story here of the new and “diverse” makeup of the incoming GOP members of the U.S. House.

  • In Wisconsin, a longtime and low-key Republican, Tom Petri, is being replaced by firebrand state lawmaker Glenn Grothman, who referred to protesters at the state Capitol in Madison as “a bunch of slobs” and has opposed equal-pay legislation because “you could argue that money is more important for men.” (Pictured here in AP photo by Doug Raflik.)
  • In Georgia, Jody Hice, a Baptist minister and conservative talk show host, has said that being gay is a lifestyle that “enslaves” people and that he doesn’t have a problem with a woman being in politics as long as she’s “within the authority of her husband.”
  • Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL elected in Montana, has gotten attention for calling Hillary Rodham Clinton “the antichrist.” “Do I really believe that she is the antichrist? That answer would be ‘no,'” Zinke said in an interview. “But I do get a little emotional about Benghazi, and I like the rest of America want answers.”

George Ochenski responds to the GOP sweep in this column about Montana candidates – and he calls for cleaning house in the Democratic Party:

The Demos sold out their base, their base stayed home, and Republicans swept the elections in a red tide nationwide.

On the local front, the Missoula County Elections Office is counting the accepted provisional ballots starting at 3 p.m. today. Elections administrator Rebecca Connors estimates it will take 30 to 60 minutes.

Then, we should have a good idea of whether we’ll have any recounts in legislative races, pending the canvass.

– Keila Szpaller

GOP makes a dent, even in Missoula; Otter, pandas


Here’s my story about the way the surge of support for the GOP affected even races in Missoula. Said Bowen Greenwood, head of the Montana Republican Party:

“I think there’s no question that the Republican message of more jobs and less government resonated with the voters last night.”


Also, this week, the public urged Mayor John Engen and the Missoula City Council to continue the fight to control Mountain Water Co. The call took place at a council meeting, and it was one of those refreshing hearings where you hear from a lot of everyday people.

Also, city editor Justin Grigg passed this story my way about homelessness. It says that Medicine Hat, Alberta, is on track to end chronic homelessness by 2015.

Also this: Baby otter; pandas. Now you can’t say I haven’t ever done anything for you.

– Keila Szpaller