Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | October 10, 2002

MT's Taylor to drop out of race

Mike Taylor, the GOP challenger to Sen. Max Baucus, will be dropped out of the race today. Johnson was trailing badly in the polls.

State Sen. Mike Taylor, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, will withdraw from the race this afternoon, saying a Montana Democratic Party television ad has destroyed his campaign.


Unconfirmed rumors have Taylor being replaced by former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, who is now chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Although the ad was placed by the Democratic Party, Taylor blamed Sen. Max Baucus for it.

"We have zero left to fight with," Alan Mikkelsen, Taylor's campaign manager, said Thursday morning. "The ad has destroyed the campaign. We have no money left and we don't want to stoop to the same level."

While this may all be a maneouver to get Racicot on the ballot, it actually looks like Taylor has a legitimate gripe. The ad is supposed to accuse Taylor of abusing student loan programs, but in reality seems to "out" Taylor as a homosexual:
Earlier this week, Taylor took strong umbrage with the ad funded by the Montana Democratic Party, which he described as "character assassination." The ad began running last Friday on Montana television stations.


What incensed Taylor was the film clip accompanying the ad. Taylor had a twice weekly segment in the early 1980s on a Denver television station. The clip shows Taylor applying lotions to the face of a man siting in the barber chair and discussing techniques. The ad shows Taylor, then slender, sporting a full beard. He is wearing a tight-fitting, three piece suit, with a big-collared open shirt ala John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever." Taylor's top two or three shirt buttons are unbuttoned, exposing some bare chest and a number of gold chains.

"I cannot believe they would stoop to that level," Taylor said.

State Sen. Ken Toole, D-Helena, and program director for the Montana Human Rights Network, said Thursday morning the ad "is an overt and obvious appeal to the homophobic (voter) that is playing to that stereotypic imagery."

Ethically, this is the kind of ignorant tactic I would normally associate with the GOP (though I will retch if I see national Republicans react in outrage to this incident of homophobia). Politically, it seems dumb -- Baucus was comfortably in the lead. Why run an ad "outing" his opponent? Was Baucus really itching to push Taylor out of the race? Would he really rather face the more potent Racicot? Granted, Taylor is a "conservative Democrat", but I still expected better.

Stupid, stupid. But in conservative Montana, the tactic is probably a winner.

Update: It seems as Racicot doesn't want the job. Thus, Baucus will essentially run unopposed.

Update II: Here's the ad, courtesy of Josh Marshall. You be the judge.

Posted October 10, 2002 10:44 AM | Comments (24)


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