Schweitzer's candidate, rancher Dennis McDonald, to head Montana Democratic Party
From the Great Falls Tribune:
McDonald elected as chairman of state's Democrats
By MIKE DENNISON
Tribune Capitol Bureau
July 17, 2005
It took more than one ballot, but Melville rancher Dennis McDonald — the choice of Gov. Brian Schweitzer — won the nod Saturday as new chairman of the Montana Democratic Party.
McDonald, 61, something of a new face in Montana politics, vowed to make the party competitive in all parts of the state.
"If I have anything to do with it, no Republicans will run unopposed in any district," he said. "I'm convinced there are good people out there, and I will make them feel more comfortable about running."
Delegates to the party officers' convention in Great Falls chose McDonald over three other candidates, giving him a one-vote majority on the second ballot early Saturday afternoon.
They later took a largely ceremonial vote to unanimously endorse McDonald for the two-year post, in which he will oversee fund-raising, candidate recruiting and campaign strategy for the party.
While convention delegates endorsed the choice of Schweitzer and U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., for party chairman, they did not follow suit when voting for the vice chairman.
McDonald was running with Jen Hensley of Butte as candidate for vice chairman, but delegates instead elected Tracy Velazquez of Bozeman, who was one of three people McDonald had defeated in the race for party leader.
Velazquez said she and McDonald will make a good team, and that she'll concentrate on encouraging more women to become candidates.
McDonald and his supporters said he can speak persuasively to rural Montanans about voting Democratic, and thus help the party build on its 2004 electoral victories.
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