Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kitzenberg running?

Just had a pleasant chat with Sen. Sam Kitzenberg, D-Glasgow, who was in town for breakfast this morning with Yellowstone County Democrats. He is considering a run for superintendent of public instruction to replace Linda McCulloch, who is finishing her second term.

Kitzenberg, of course, is notorious for switching parties just after the last election. That gives him an edge in name recognition, but that may not be helpful in his case. Republicans were infuriated by his switch, and it sounded as if Democrats this morning weren't quite prepared to jump on board his campaign.

He is a maverick, which has some appeal, and he does have a background in education. He taught high school English for 17 years, emphasizing poetry. He might have to struggle against the perception that the superintendent's office has become a "women's seat," at least in the eyes of Democrats, but he says he's tough enough to stand up against both parties and the teachers' union when needed.


Don said...


Was that "woman's seat" point something that Kitzenberg made in your talk?

David said...

Don, it wasn't a formal interview, so I wasn't taking notes and can't quote him exactly. But yes, he said a couple of times that a few people in the education community had told him the office has been held in recent history by a woman and should continue to be so. I don't know whether that came up in his speech to Democrats this morning.

Don said...


Incidentally, the new site and blog look great.

Dave Rye said...

Traditionally the job has been held by a woman, dating back at least to the 1940s (Mary Condon and Harriet Miller come to mind), but Ed Argenbright broke the mold for two terms in the '80s before it went back to being "a woman's job" under Nancy Keenan and Linda McCulloch.

If he runs, Kitzenberg will surely be asked about what appeared to be the tit-for-tat state government job he got from Governor Schweitzer, just after the party switch had moved the Senate from a 25-25 tie to a 26-24 Democratic majority. I believe Sam had been unemployed for several months up to that time.

David said...

I asked him about that, too. He's adamant that there was no political deal. He says that, if anything, his career prospects would have been better as a Republican.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that his chances of being elected are not good.

Nobody will elect somebody knowing that he or she can't be trusted.

David said...

Eric, I think you have just disqualified about two-third of Congress.

Anonymous said...

Kitzenbergs actions look deceitful, even if he says they were not.

Since we can't read his mind, we need to look at his actions.

He has some bad investment, and cashes out his retirement to get out of it.

He was given an unadvertised State job.

The Governor lost control of the legislature, and who steps forward to give him the edge? The same man who got the unadvertised job.

It looks like political payback.

If it looks like a duck............