Montana AG race: Democrat leads by 8 points

By Chris Rizo | Oct 26, 2008

Steve Bullock (D)

Tim Fox (R)

BILLINGS, Mont. (Legal Newsline)-The Democratic nominee for Montana attorney general has an eight-point lead over his Republican opponent, a new poll indicates.

The Montana State University-Billings released Friday shows that among likely voters Democrat Steve Bullock leads Republican Tim Fox 45 percent to 37 percent. Seventeen percent of those surveyed said they were undecided.

By comparison, 60 percent of respondents said they plan to vote for Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer, with just 27 percent of those polled saying the plan to support his Republican challenger, state Sen. Roy Brown.

In that race, more than 8 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The telephone poll, which surveyed 403 likely voters last week, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

MSU-Billings Political Science professor Craig Wilson said that with the presidential race eclipsing other contests, voters are not familiar with some of the down-ballot nominees.

Wilson said the significant number of undecided voters could decide the attorney general race.

"There are a lot of undecideds because there simply isn't much name recognition," Wilson said. "There may be a lot of recognition of Bullock and Fox in Helena, but not outside of that because they've never held elected office."

Bullock and Fox are vying for the office being left by Attorney General Mike McGrath, who is barred by term limits from seeking a third term. McGrath, a Democrat, is running for chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court in the November election.

The Treasure State has had a Democratic attorney general since 1993. The Montana attorney general oversees the Department of Justice, with its $70 million budget.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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