As Montanans become more familiar with career politician Mike Cooney’s record of pushing for higher taxes and fees on working families and campaigning on the taxpayer dime, political experts are sounding the alarm about his flailing campaign.
On Montana Public Radio’s most recent addition of “Campaign Beat,” University of Montana Political Science Professor Rob Saldin had harsh words for Cooney and his campaign, saying they are “losing the race to define their candidate”:
TRANSCRIPT: “I’d say in this governor’s race, a key dynamic here is that Cooney is a blank slate for lots of Montanans, and that’s the kind of situation in which advertising can be really, really persuasive in shaping voters’ views, because they don’t have any priors, right? Gianforte, by contrast, he’s very well-known and people think what they think of him, and those preexisting impressions just aren’t going to be as easy to change. So a real key in this campaign is going to be how Cooney gets defined for voters who aren’t familiar with him. And I’d be pretty worried right now if I was in the Cooney campaign; concerned that they’re losing that race to define their candidate. At least here in Missoula, I see a lot of ads up that are defining Cooney as basically an entrenched, corrupt political hack, and not much of a response from the Cooney people. And again, that 48% of people who don’t know who the guy is – well, that’s really bad if this impression that the Republicans are putting out there takes hold. I don’t know if the Cooney people are trying to save some money, but, you know, if their candidate gets defined before the fall here, you know, it doesn’t matter how much money you got for the last few weeks of the campaign.”