Citizens Opposing Political Corruption
in Montana's Elections
People's Power League
Fighting Corporate Control of Montana Government
Since June 11, 1911
For 102 years, Montana voters have nominated candidates in an Open Primary. They've selected candidates for U.S. Senate and House of Representative, governor and other state offices, continuing down the ballot to local and party officials. The Open Primary has always been under attack by corporate interests that want to dominate Montana Government. Montana voters have won every battle.
Enacting the Open Primary Initiative in 1912 pitted a small group of dedicated citizens against overwhelming corporate opposition. Democrat Thomas Walsh is often credited with an amazing victory when 78% voted for the initiative. But few realize the critical role played by Republican U.S. Senator Joseph Dixon. There is a reason why both Dixon and Walsh are honored in the Capitol Rotunda.
Walsh followed Dixon as U.S. Senator and left
Montana to fight corruption in Washington D.C. Dixon returned
to Missoula and took up the reins of the Missoulian. He successfully
blocked all attempts of the Anaconda Company to dismantle the Open
Primary. He was so beloved by Montana voters in 1920 that he became
Governor in the greatest landslide victory ever recorded in the
state. His coat-tails carried Republicans into every national and
statewide office. In addition, Republicans filled 76% of the State
Senate seats and 91% of those in the State House.
In the 1985 legislature, Republican State Representatives remembered past victories and stood up against Democrats who wanted to close the Open Primary. It was a fierce legislative battle that made the Legislative fights this spring look like playground fisticuffs.
Montana retained the Open Primary in 1985 and voters elected Republican Governors for 16 years -- Stan Stevens, Marc Racicot, and Judy Martz.
Once again Montanans are fighting about the
Open Primary. Republican Attorney General Tim Fox and State
Representative Steve Fitzpatrick are trying to calm things down to
keep the party from destroying all chances of electing a governor.
Republican "newbys" are not listening to the older/wiser voices in
the party. Of course, if Republicans want to see Democrat Steve
Bulloch re-elected, they are welcome to line up behind their Pied
Piper, State Representative Matthew Monforton.
For more details and the latest victory:
Check the facts in the full report on the history of the Open Primary. The story is inspiring and even entertaining. It's a long story -- interwoven with 102 years of political history in Montana.
Click on the dates in the timeline to go directly to the material you find most interesting. But, don't miss the conclusion. History is cycling again and Matthew Monforton may regret leaping before he has looked into Montana's history.
This poster, published in the Montana
Nonpartisan - a Great Falls newspaper, appeared during
the 1919 fight to stop any legislation designed to end the Open
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
Ravalli County Republican Central Committee, and nine others didn't like the decision of the Honorable Brian Morris to hear the full lawsuit filed by Matthew Monforton on September, 2014. So they appealed on February 12, 2015.
The question to be argued in a half hour hearing is:
Does a state law allowing non-Republican voters to select the internal leadership of the Republican Party violate the Party's First Amendment right of association?
Look for the Appellate Court to tell the Central
Committees to read the U.S.
Supreme Court ruling 450 U.S. 107 (1981). It says
that the party's right to
associate is defined in the Party Rules.
Rules on primary election day in 2014 designated
participation in Montana's Open Primary. At this time,
their candidates and choose the members of the Republican County
For over 100 years the Republicans have advocated the use of an Open Primary in Montana. In fact, the MTGOP has historically been a stronger advocate of the Open Primary than the Democratic Party.
"No stream can rise higher than its source and the law proceeds
from the people, consequently there is no such thing as law that
stands independent of popular opinion, and for the legislatures and
courts to...divorce the law from reason,...would be fatal to the law
and destructive to the country."
Billings Daily Gazette