A prominent Montana state senator would appreciate it if the state’s vulnerable Democratic U.S. senator would stop stealing his legislative priorities.
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who was first elected in 2006, could be one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2024. No matter what happens in the White House race, the senatorial map looks pretty grim for the Democrats, with three Democrats defending their seats in states Donald Trump won in 2020 and another half-dozen or so Dems or Democrat-caucusing independents in swing states.
Thus, Tester winning again is crucial to the left’s hopes to keep control of the upper chamber.
And, as usual, those on the left know when they have to pretend they’re creatures of the right — or, at the very least, “moderates” or “independents.” This is what has GOP state Sen. Ken Bogner so piqued, since Tester seems to be borrowing his bright ideas.
In a video posted Tuesday, Bogner accused Tester of “identity theft” and noted three instances where legislation modeled on his ideas has been introduced by the Montana senator.
— Ken Bogner (@KennethBogner) December 12, 2023
“This guy’s been stealing from me,” Bogner said in the 50-second clip, pointing to a picture of Tester.
“He’s all over TV, and his entire campaign is based on my stolen identity.”
“Exhibit A,” Bogner said, was a bill that Bogner introduced into the state Senate in January, according to the Northern Ag Network, a Montana news outlet.
The network reported on Jan. 26 that Bogner’s bill would “prohibit foreign adversaries from owning, leasing, or renting critical infrastructure in Montana, including agricultural production land.”
Just days later — lookie! — Tester had his own bill to introduce along the exact same lines:
“Continuing his fight to defend America’s food supply and national security, U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) today teamed up with U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) to introduce bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from investing in, purchasing, leasing or otherwise acquiring U.S. farmland,” the senator said in a Jan. 31 news release.
“A week later, ol’ Jonny introduces it as his,” Bogner said in the video.
Bogner’s bill passed the Montana legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte on May 4.
“Exhibit B,” Bogner said, was Montana ballot measure C-48, which was aimed at “submitting to the qualified electors of Montana an amendment to Article II, section 11, of the Montana Constitution to explicitly include electronic data and communications in search and seizure protections.”
According to a Feb. 16, 2021 report in the Sidney (Montana) Herald, Bogner said the 2022 measure “is about updating Montana’s Constitution to reflect life in the 21st Century and make it explicitly clear that our digital information is protected from unreasonable government searches and seizures.
“Today, so much of our private lives — financial information, communication with family and friends, medical information, and much, much more — is contained on and transferred electronically among many devices and computer systems,” he said. “The government should need a warrant before accessing or gathering Montanans electronic data or communications.”
The measure passed in the Nov. 8, 2022, ballot with 82 percent of the vote, according to Ballotpedia.
In August of this year, Tester announced a move to enshrine a similar measure in federal law.
In a news release, Tester said he had “recently joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues to reintroduce the Fourth Amendment is Not For Sale Act, a bill to close loopholes that allow for federal agencies and law enforcement to access personal data without a warrant. This legislation prevents abuses of Americans’ right to privacy by cracking down on how the government can buy and use Americans’ personal data.”
But Bogner wasn’t stopping at legislation Tester has sponsored.
“And it’s not just my bills he’s using for votes,” Bogner noted, saying “he’s stealing my videos, too” and noting the similarity between clips of the two driving pickup trucks.
“So next time you see one of his campaign ads, just know that none of it’s true,” Bogner said. “It’s all stolen from me just to campaign on.”
However, Bogner pointed out that “what he can’t steal from me is that I’ve actually passed these bills.”
Bogner isn’t running against Tester, mind you. He’s not even running in the GOP primary to challenge him.
The favorite to win the Republican Senate nomination is businessman Tim Sheehy, according to NBC News, although U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale, who lost to Tester in 2018, might also launch a challenge. Former Montana Secretary of State Brad Johnson is also in the running, according to the Helena, Montana-based Independent Record.
The point is that Tester is going to keep on stealing ideas from Republicans … up to the moment he gets elected and falls back into the Democratic line. His momentary independent streak ends the moment he gets another six years in office.
Tester can steal — or more accurately, temporarily borrow — GOP ideas, but what he can’t borrow is the zeal or enthusiasm to back them up.
Be not fooled, Montanans: When it comes to every bad idea the Democrat hive mind spits out, Tester will be right there to rubber-stamp it.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.