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Gubernatorial candidate stumps for votes in Polson

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POLSON – With campaign season in full swing leading up to the Nov. 3 general election, local, state and national candidates are stumping for votes in Lake County. 

Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, who is running to replace his boss, Gov. Steve Bullock, met with around 30 voters in Sacajawea Park on Saturday. The Democrat was flanked by running mate Casey Schreiner, a former public school teacher and House minority leader. 

“Montana is not for sale,” said Cooney, taking direct aim at his opponent, millionaire Republican Greg Gianforte, who Money magazine ranked as the richest member of Congress in 2019. Cooney and Schreiner have accused the New Jersey native and software developer, who has spent at least $1 million of his own money on the hotly contested race, of “trying to buy the governor’s seat.” 

Cooney, a native of Butte, was first elected to the Montana House of Representatives in 1977 and went on to work in Washington, D.C. for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus. Returning to Montana, he served three terms as Secretary of State, was elected to the Montana Senate, worked for the Department of Labor and was executive director of Montana Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.

Schreiner praised Cooney’s long career as a public servant and especially his hands-on governing experience. “Coming out of the pandemic, it’s never been more important to hit the ground running,” he said.  

The current controversy over wearing masks in public places found its way into the otherwise peaceful gathering when an unmasked man began shouting for Cooney to take “just one question.” Identifying himself as “an undecided voter,” he went on to loudly and profanely criticize “the fear and hysteria of this whole mask-wearing culture.” 

Cooney, who was visiting with constituents at the time, finally advised him to “put your damn mask on,” before returning to his conversation. The man departed before city police arrived on the scene.  

 

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