May Newsletter

Montana Progressive Democrats Newsletter

Spring 2018 


MtPD endorses John Heenan for Congress

U.S. House candidate in the 2018 Democratic primary election, John Heenan, was overwhelmingly endorsed by Montana Progressive Democrats (MtPD) membership and board.

Five of the six candidates responded to MtPD’s endorsement questionnaire. Lynda Moss submitted her answers shortly before dropping out. Jared Pettinato did not respond.

The endorsement was based on four criteria: number of votes garnered from membership, the candidate’s shared values with MtPD, campaign viability and candidate outreach to progressives.* 

Heenan excelled in all four.

MtPD membership was able to view each candidate’s answers to the questionnaire. Thirty-two members responded with an endorsement and all the candidates received votes. Members were able to endorse one or more candidates, or none at all. Heenan was the only candidate to break the 60 percent threshold.

“It’s obviously a great field from which to choose,” said MtPD Director Pete Talbot, “but our members believe Heenan most closely aligns with our values and will be the best candidate to beat (incumbent Republican) Greg Gianforte this fall.”



What else have we been up to?

Helena meeting

Our statewide meeting in Helena on March 10 was attended by more than 70, many of them candidates in the 2018 primary and general elections. Sen. Jon Tester addressed the gathering, as did Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney and U.S. House candidates John Heenan and Kathleen Williams.

Candidates for Montana legislative seats and the PSC were introduced and state Rep. Amanda Curtis spoke eloquently on behalf of MTPD: past, present and future.

Duane Catlett from Bozeman, a former professor, and current lecturer and scientist, presented a power point and discussion about neoliberalism titled Two Americas – With a Neo-Liberal Transition.

Committee assignments – particularly platform planks – were updated as was work on the endorsement process.   


Congressional Forum

Montana Progressive Democrats co-hosted a candidate’s forum for the U.S House Democratic candidates. It was one of the first opportunities to listen to all five candidates speak to the issues (a sixth candidate, John Meyer of Bozeman, entered the race after the forum).

MTPD partnered with Missoula County, Ravalli County and Mineral County Democratic Central Committees, UM College Democrats and BMWED-IBT (Rail Workers Conference).

The forum was videotaped by Missoula Community Access Television. It can be viewed here:



MtPD worked with a host of great candidates and volunteers on managing the VAN (Voter Activation Network). That was followed by a Q&A with veteran campaign consultant Jim Parker of WestRidge Creative. Candidates participating were Lee Bridges, Diane Magone, Marilyn Marler, Andrea Olsen, Patrick Maloney and Lyndsay Stover. More trainings are planned.  



MtPD board members visited with two Western Montana activist organizations: Mission Valley Rises in Ronan and Mineral County Democrats in Superior.

 These were mostly listening sessions to hear what these two fine groups were doing and to assist where MtPD could in their endeavors.

It’s exciting to see more rural communities organizing for progressive change. MtPD would be glad to meet with other organizations. Contact Pete Talbot: [email protected]    


Platform Committees

MtPD is working on progressive language to update the Montana Democratic Party’s platform. The platform convention this summer. The three committees that have been the most active are: Health Care, Good Government and Energy/Environment. We’ll keep membership posted on MtPD’s proposed planks as they get closer to a final draft.     


Please Don’t Forget your Annual Member Donation

You’ll get a cool bumper sticker. It’s our logo, the same as the graphic at the top of this newsletter and you'll be an official member of MTPD and will be able to participate in future endorsement procedures and other benefits. 

You can use ActBlue: 

or send a check to Montana Progressive Democrats, P.O. Box 7672, Missoula, MT 59807


*Endorsement Process

The endorsement process starts with a progressive values questionnaire sent to the candidates. Membership then chooses to endorse/not endorse based on questionnaire responses. More than one candidate can be endorsed or none at all. Endorsements are weighted on number of votes garnered from the membership, the candidate’s shared values with MTPD, campaign viability and candidate outreach to progressives. 

The MTPD Executive Board will compile the information from candidates and membership, and finalize endorsement decisions.

The endorsed candidate is encouraged use MTPD's endorsement in campaign material, and MTPD will promote endorsed candidates in its communications.

Here’s the fine print:     

Endorsement Policy

Montana Progressive Democrats may endorse in primaries according to the following procedure.


  1. The Montana Progressive Democrats shall not endorse until after the filing deadline for any election.
  2.  The Montana Progressive Democrats executive group shall submit a  questionnaire to all candidates eligible for endorsement, and distribute the answer to this questionnaire to current members.
  3. A supermajority of 60% of members in support shall make a candidate eligible for endorsement by the Montana Progressive Democrats.
  4. The endorsement of the Montana Progressive Democrats will be given upon the above vote and then 2/3 vote of the executive committee.

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