Sometimes, a primary challenge can be helpful.
After his only Democratic primary opponent dropped out last week, we wondered whether Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock would draw another one before the governor's race filing deadline. Per state finance laws, a candidate running unopposed in the primary would have to forfeit money he or she could otherwise keep. It turns out that Bullock will have a challenger after all. The Missoulian, on Heather Margolis:
Her last-minute candidacy ensures that Bullock will have a primary competitor and thus not have to refund tens of thousands of dollars of campaign donations. Without a primary opponent, Bullock would have had to forfeit some money.
Margolis denied that she was a candidate put up by the Democratic Party or Bullock so he would not have to refund campaign donations.
It's more than the timing of Margolis's announcement that raised questions:
She was asked about her husband, Tim Warner, a former spokesman for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and later Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana who now runs a consulting firm in Helena, donating $600 to Bullock's governor's campaign, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
She didn't answer the question, but instead talked about Bullock.
"Steve's not a bad guy," Margolis said. "They're nice people. I have an issue that I really care about. If I'd seen Steve be more vocal on the issue of service, civic engagement and volunteers, I might not have filed."