BILLINGS, Mont. — Rob Quist, the Democratic candidate for Montana’s sole U.S. House seat, had a problem. Big Sky Rising, the local progressive group — one of many that grew out of the National Women’s March — had filled a room for his speech.
But the room didn’t have a sound system for Quist, a 69-year-old folk musician, to strum and sing his campaign theme song.
“Let me just recite a poem for you about how I feel about our public lands,” Quist said. “Her gown is luscious green when she attends the annual springtime ball. And she fancies orange and gold and harvest moon in the fall. Her wild and natural beauty — it will take away your breath. Oh, but take her for granted? It could easily mean your death.”
It had been just 48 hours since a surprisingly close special election in Kansas kicked off Republican hand-wringing about forfeiting Montana’s May 25 special election to replace Ryan Zinke (R), now President Trump’s interior secretary.
The Democratic candidate in Montana is a mustachioed 6-foot-3 poet who appears everywhere — churches, fundraisers, and television interviews — in a white cowboy hat and black Ariat boots.