Hamilton's Cox could be spoiler in Montana Senate race

2012-10-06T06:30:00Z 2012-10-07T07:12:43Z Hamilton's Cox could be spoiler in Montana Senate raceThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 06, 2012 6:30 am  • 

HELENA – Republican-leaning voters say they are receiving unsolicited calls that tout the conservative credentials of the Libertarian candidate in Montana’s tight U.S. Senate race – at the possible expense of the GOP contender.

The race between U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg remains tight with a month before the election. Some Republicans worry – and some Democrats hope – that Hamilton Libertarian Dan Cox could take needed conservative votes away from Rehberg.

A polling call targeting likely Rehberg voters promotes Cox as the real constitutional conservative in the race. The pollster isn’t identifying which group is behind the call.

Kathy Means, an “actively involved” voter from Florence, said she became suspicious when the pollster kept trying to persuade her to pick Cox over Rehberg. She said the pollster pointed out Rehberg’s past support for the Patriot Act and other sensitive issues for libertarian-minded conservatives.

“This does not sound like a typical polling thing, it just sounded like they were trying to get me to not vote for Rehberg,” Means said. “I started pressing them for more information on who they represented, and then they hung up.”

So-called “push polls” can be used to negatively portray a candidate in an effort to push voters to another candidate.

The Rehberg campaign called the poll a deceptive tactic. Spokesman Chris Bond said they suspect some third-party Tester ally is behind it.

“Montanans are smart, and they’re not going to fall for this brand of dirty, deceptive politics coming from Senator Tester’s side,” Bond said.

The Tester campaign said it had nothing to do with the calls.

But Cox said it isn’t the only fishy call. He said Rehberg allies are calling his likely supporters and trying to talk them into voting for Rehberg.

Cox, who lives in Hamilton and runs an Internet fishing tackle store, said his wife got a call making the rounds to past Ron Paul donors.

The Libertarian said that the caller then tries to persuade Cox supporters to back Rehberg because he supports an audit of the Federal Reserve System – a touchstone for Paul supporters. The caller argued that a vote for Cox would ensure Democrats stay in control of the Senate.

“It would be really hypocritical for Republicans doing this to complain about the other call,” Cox said.

The Libertarian said he is not worried about being a potential spoiler in the race.

Cox said he is running against deficit spending, “Obamacare,” perceived federal incursions on liberty like the Patriot Act, prosecutions of medical marijuana providers in the state, unconstitutional wars and other issues.

“There is almost no difference between Republicans and Democrats. There may be a difference in rhetoric, but when you look at their voting records there is almost difference,” Cox said. “If I really thought the Republicans would bring us back to a constitutional government, I would have no reason to run.”

The Rehberg campaign pointed out that the congressman has the endorsement of Paul in the election, and that Rehberg also supports a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. MyPointofView
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    MyPointofView - October 07, 2012 5:49 pm
    makes me wonder what tester has offered Cox to steal apercentage of votes
  2. MyPointofView
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    MyPointofView - October 07, 2012 5:46 pm
    clear and to the point sad but true tester is the least favorable
  3. MontanaJim72
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    MontanaJim72 - October 06, 2012 9:54 pm
    The Republican party adopted the Tea Party and their far right agenda four years ago. They can't complain when a Tea Party candidate wants to run for office, except they call themselves a Libertarian. You adopted them, you live with them and their crazy ideas. I would personally prefer that my tax dollars not be wasted for half of a legislative session on tea party crazy bills, when the state needs every minute of a 90 day session to make our state viable. I can't imagine a Republican legislature and a Republican governor controlling Montana. Vote Republican in November and you will find out how bad it can be.
  4. Bittersweet
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    Bittersweet - October 06, 2012 8:26 pm
    This is true. If you darken the little oval next to Cox with your #2 pencil you have just voted for John Tester. Plain and simple.
  5. liberal
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    liberal - October 06, 2012 8:15 pm
    If it will help Tester, PlEASE Dan, Stay in the race!!!
  6. Stillmike Miller
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    Stillmike Miller - October 06, 2012 1:49 pm
    I would suggest you are not a libertarian if you are not voting that way.
  7. Stillmike Miller
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    Stillmike Miller - October 06, 2012 1:47 pm
    I disagree. This two party c rap is choking us. Both parties lead to bigger government and less citizen freedom. Cox needs to stay in. People need to wake up.
  8. DanielsGB
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    DanielsGB - October 06, 2012 9:00 am
    I got the call from a Rehberg staffer because I'm a Ron Paul supporter.

    I explained to her Rehberg & Testers vote on the NDAA with it's indefinite detention is why I'm voting for Dan Cox.

    I just told a Tester volunteer that today.

  9. Roger
    Report Abuse
    Roger - October 06, 2012 6:41 am
    The important thing obviously is to get rid of Tester, who does not support Montana values - we cannot afford to waste votes on a guy who has no chance to win.
  10. Pistol
    Report Abuse
    Pistol - October 06, 2012 2:03 am
    Your comment that anyone who votes for Rehberg or Cox as stupid, is straight out of the OBama play book. He get's his lunch handed to him by Romney in ftont of 60 - 70 million people, and responds after wards by calling Romeny a liar. If Romney is/was a liar OBama should have pointed it out by rebutting Romney's positions when debating. Maybe he could have if he would have looked at Romney instead of the floor. So name calling is the way to go when you have nothing constructive to say or present.
  11. Scoop
    Report Abuse
    Scoop - October 05, 2012 9:36 pm
    I am a libertarian and will be voting for Rehberg over Cox. A vote for Cox is a vote for Obama and Tester. Unfortunately, for libertarians wanting a credible option, Cox has little to no credentials as a libertarian candidate. He has barely campaigned and has done nothing to reach out to the libertarian base. I am sure he is a good man, but politically I don't know a single libertarian, constitutional or Tea-party leader that supports him. His only support comes from Tester supports who hopes to confuse libertarians and conservatives with a candidate who is not deserving of the ballot line. This election is far too important to squander a single vote for unattainable ideological reasons, especially when the alternative threatens our very country and libertarian movement with extinction.
  12. idiot state
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    idiot state - October 05, 2012 5:33 pm
    Go ahead and vote for Cox, then don't come crying when JON TESTER wins the race and you're stuck with Obamacare, the EPA, gun control, and an economy worse than any other state in the region. And if you think JON TESTER'S campaign isn't behind this, well, then, let me tell you about a bridge for sale....
  13. elkguy
    Report Abuse
    elkguy - October 05, 2012 5:01 pm
    A vote for Cox is a vote for Tester.
  14. Drummer
    Report Abuse
    Drummer - October 05, 2012 4:05 pm
    I like Dan, and know he is a man of honor. However, he did not win in the primary election and he must step aside, as the race is between Rehberg & Tester. We can work with Rehberg and his staff is very approachable and co-operative. Dan has gained some name recognition now and should try again in the future. The last time we had a situation like this, Burns lost by a minimal amount to Tester, because of the Libertarian vote. Look at the damage Tester has done. If Dan does not withdraw, and ever runs for an office in the future, I will not vote for him.
  15. SS396CHEV
    Report Abuse
    SS396CHEV - October 05, 2012 11:57 am
    Rehberg does not like democracy unless it helps him.
  16. montanamuralist
    Report Abuse
    montanamuralist - October 05, 2012 11:57 am
    One is a selfish Libertarian who wants no government basically, the other ( Rehberg), is a selfish elitist. Either way stupid Montanans who can not see fact will be happy with either one. Fight it out boys for the stupid vote!!!
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