Posted: Oct 31, 2012 7:20 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Oct 31, 2012 7:20 AM
HELENA- Montana's race for Secretary of State looks a lot like it did four years ago. Democrat Linda McCulloch and Republican Brad Johnson are no strangers.
Johnson was elected Secretary of State in 2004, then lost to McCulloch in 2008, and now they are once again facing each other this election.
"I think it will be a good race, a close race and I am looking forward to it," McCulloch predicted.
McCulloch says during her time in office she has balanced the budget, which was running $1 million in the red after her opponent left office.
"I am proud to say we ended the last fiscal year in the black for the 2nd straight year. I am very proud of that."
She says she is also proud of her work modernizing the elections office by putting resources online.
McCulloch is a proponent of Vote by Mail, same day voter registration and making sure elections stay clean.
Meanwhile, as a member of the State Land Board she says she supports natural resource development.
"I have never voted no on a timber sale. I have never voted no on a coal, oil, or gas production sale. So I am very proud of that record," she recalled. Now my opponent, in the one term he served on the Land Board he had the lowest attendance and voting record on the Land Board. You know the way I look at it, is how can you be supportive if you don't show up and vote?"
"We all have to show photo ID to get on an airplane, cash a check, enter a federal building or even check into a hotel. Shouldn't we have to show photo ID to go to vote?" Johnson asked.
Throughout Johnson's campaign he's been busy talking about preventing voter fraud, something McCulloch says hasn't been a problem in Montana. But Johnson says it's incredibly important.
"I think that maintaining the integrity of our elections in Montana is a paramount responsibility of the Secretary of State and it's one of my most important commitments in that office."
Johnson also says the Secretary of State's Office can do more to promote jobs and the economy through its business services.
"I want the Secretary of State's office to be a true comprehensive one stop shop for new businesses coming into Montana so we can have them start with us as they need to register and then guide them step by step through the rest of that new business establishment process," he explained.
Johnson is also a proponent of developing the state's natural resources including coal, oil and gas.
"We can have the best of both worlds. We can preserve the wonderful aspects of Big Sky Country and still be the Treasure State."
So once again it's familiar territory for these two as the square off at the ballot box.