In early July, Rep. David “Doc” Moore, R-Missoula, made a bit of a “last minute” decision. He noticed that only one candidate—Annelise Hedahl—had entered the race for Dick Haines’ Ward 5 seat on the Missoula City Council. He decided to throw his name in the ring, despite being up for reelection to the state House in 2014.
“Too often we see too many races in Missoula where there’s only one person on the ballot,” Moore says. “The Missoula County Democrats have endorsed whoever my opponent is, and so has the outgoing incumbent … I just want people to have a choice.”
Now Moore is planning the end of his summer around candidate forums and yard signs. He’s crafting a message that focuses not just on Missoula issues like zoning and accessory dwelling units, but how those discussions impact the city’s rural neighbors. And he singles out one town as an example: Seeley Lake.
After running an unsuccessful 2010 bid to topple incumbent Tim Furey in the largely rural House District 91—a Democratic stronghold for more than a decade—Moore managed to win the seat by just 22 votes last year. Already the boundaries of his district have shifted, due to the legislature’s recent redistricting. It’s no longer HD 91. It’s HD 92.
“It takes Rock Creek out of my district, which is terrible,” Moore says. “No man should have a Blue Ribbon trout stream taken from his district.”
Moore does point to one benefit. He picked up the town of Seeley Lake, one of the area’s more conservative pockets, where his talking points for this fall’s council election will no doubt gain attention in advance of his 2014 legislative race.
“That area will definitely be important for reelection,” Moore says. “It would be impossible to win without it.”
Moore acknowledges that his council race will give him a leg up toward retaining his legislative seat, but only if he doesn’t win in Ward 5. If he does win there, Montana law will require him to step down prior to taking his new office. Moore jokes that he’s “not too worried about that,” given the uphill battle he faces for city council. He already filed a financial reporting form for his reelection campaign, and says it’s “assumed that I’ll run again.”