A Helena-based political committee linked to the liberal Montana Trial Lawyers Association has spent over $20,000 on a last-minute campaign for Juli Pierce, their chosen candidate in a Billings District Court Judge race.
In the past, the group has supported the likes of Democrat State-Senator-turned-Supreme-Court-Justice Mike Wheat and Democrat Attorney-General-turned-Supreme-Court-Justice Mike McGrath. Campaign finance records show the liberal group has not been involved in a District Court Judge race in recent history.
The ideological motivations behind this last-minute attempt to save Pierce’s struggling campaign become even clearer when I look at the details: 1) Gene Jarussi, a longtime Democrat activist and retired attorney contributed $5,000.00 to pay for the campaign; 2) the group used the same political consulting firm used by the Montana Democrat Party; 3) in addition to campaigning for Pierce, the group has donated thousands of dollars to the Montana Democrat Party and zero to Republicans.
So why is a liberal trial lawyer group from Helena getting involved in a non-partisan judge race in Billings? The answer is simple: they are afraid to have conservatives on the bench at any level.
The barrage of activity from the trial-lawyer-linked group started only after candidate Ashley Harada sent out a direct mail piece to voters discussing how Harada had only donated to conservative candidates and organizations, while Pierce had only donated to liberal candidates and organizations.
While Democrats have struggled to win partisan races across Montana, their judicial candidates, who are able to hide their liberal ideology behind a non-partisan label, have flourished.
The public watched the extraordinary lengths D.C. liberals went to in their efforts to block conservative Brett Kavanaugh from the U.S. Supreme Court. Now it looks like liberals in Montana are taking a page out of their playbook to block conservatives judges from the bench at the local level.