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Fanning and Baldwin: ‘In This To Win’
Emphasizing state sovereignty, candidates hope to capitalize on crowded Republican field
Chuck Baldwin, left, and gubernatorial candidate Bob Fanning listen to questions from the audience at the Red Lion Hotel in Kalispell. Fanning announced Baldwin as his running mate in the 2012 election. - Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon
On Nov. 16 at the Red Lion Hotel in Kalispell, Republican governor candidate Bob Fanning told a camouflage-speckled audience, “I’m blessed, completely blessed, to have Chuck Baldwin as my lieutenant governor.”

Baldwin, a pastor who ran for president as a Constitution Party candidate in 2008 and moved from Florida to the Flathead Valley last year, took the stage and returned the respect.

“Bob is the one candidate in the race I can fully and whole-heartedly embrace,” Baldwin said, adding: “I look forward to accompanying Bob to the governor’s mansion after next year’s election, because we are in this to win.”

Fanning and Baldwin held the Nov. 16 gathering to formally announce they are running together in the 2012 Montana governor’s race to replace term-limited Democrat Brian Schweitzer. There are eight other Republicans seeking the party’s nomination, while there are two only two Democrats, Attorney General Steve Bullock and state Sen. Larry Jent.

New to politics, Fanning is a retired businessman who said he spent so many years shouting on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade that he had to get polyps removed from his vocal cords. Today he owns a ranch in Paradise Valley south of Livingston and has become known for his opposition to reintroduced wolves, arguing that the predators have decimated elk populations.

“I’m not a career politician,” he said. “I’m an executive.”

Fanning and Baldwin introduced a steadfast if not diverse plan to strengthen Montana’s state sovereignty and push back against intrusive federal regulations, a plan that ranges from fighting for medical marijuana patients’ rights to opposing federal management of wolves to creating a state bank funded by natural resource development.

Baldwin drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd when he declared: “We will preserve, defend and protect the Constitution.”

“Montana is at literally the cutting edge of a rebirth of freedom in this country,” he said.

In explaining his stance on medical marijuana, Baldwin said “the federal government has no right to come into the state of Montana and overturn a law the people of Montana passed for themselves.”

“If this team of men was in the governor’s mansion,” he added, “those raids would have never taken place in the state of Montana.”

Baldwin outlined his and Fanning’s strong pro-life stance as well as their intent to make property rights a high priority. Other priorities, according to their website, include establishing a flat-tax system and staunchly protecting gun rights.

According to a column posted on his website, Baldwin sees a “very special opportunity” for the Fanning-Baldwin ticket in the crowded Republican field. With nine candidates, he wrote “the pie is going to be sliced mighty thin” and it is “very conceivable” that the winner will receive “far less” than 30 percent of the votes.

"Don’t you see the opportunity Bob and I have in this election?” he wrote.

When Fanning and Baldwin were taking questions at the Red Lion, one man, expressing his displeasure with Washington D.C., asked, “Why aren’t we suing the federal government?”

Fanning grabbed the microphone and said, “I am.” As part of his ongoing efforts against wolves, Fanning said he has filed a petition and indicated he is willing to stand up against the federal government.

In protecting the rights of Montanans and fighting what he views as over-burdensome regulations, Fanning said he is upholding the “sanctity of the individual.”

“We will draw a line in the sand,” Fanning said. “The federal encroachment into our daily lives is over.”
On 11-27-11, BiggerMig commented....
Not a chance.
Kellyn Brown
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