April 25, 2018 Voices Of Montana

GOP Debate Reflections From Jon Arneson

A GOP Senate Primary Forum Debate was held Tuesday night April 24 at the Elks lodge in Billings. I was lucky enough to host the “after debate wrap up show” on the Northern Broadcasting News Network. The room was approximately 2/3 full and seemed to have about 150 people in attendance.


I was asked several times, directly after the debate, who I believe got the better of their opponents. That is a real tough question, but one thing that I found out from the people that were asking, was that they were quick to tell me what they thought and they all seemed to believe “Their Guy” did the best!

I personally thought it was a good debate. It was a little livelier than most, but most candidates were much more comfortable bashing their would-be opponent, Democratic Senator Jon Tester, than each other.  The one exception was former Yellowstone County Judge, Russ Fagg who was clearly on the offense. Mr. Fagg and his team obviously believe that his major obstacle in this senate race is State Auditor, Matt Rosendale.

Russ Fagg was quick to point out that he believed that State Auditor Rosendale was “campaigning on tax payer’s money and using a swamp-like slush fund”. Rosendale is currently on a 19-city tour, the Auditors office is calling the “Invest in Montana tour” to help entrepreneurs learn how to get the investments they need to start and expand business.

Matt Rosendale was then quick to point out that, “The tour is paid for by the Investor Protection Fund, which relies on fees collected from securities businesses, no tax dollars are involved”. Fagg continued with saying Rosendale is also a flip-flopper on property rights issues. Rosendale again on the defensive countered sharply with, “I am doing exactly what Montanans want, I traveled the state and I asked a lot of questions, and I changed my mind because this is what Montanans want.”

Back to the original question of who I thought won the debate, I would say “sometimes your best offense is a good defense”.


Jon Arneson