Consulting in Montana politics, government affairs, and public relations. Whether it's organizing a grassroots advocacy campaign, lobbying in the Montana statehouse, or developing a comprehensive communications strategy, our unrivaled team of experts in Montana politics and policy has the tools to get the job done.
Let us help you succeed in Big Sky Country.
Sometimes achieving a policy objective requires a bit more than the typical lobbying effort.
After successfully blocking a targeted tax proposal for years in the legislature, a Montana business association and their national parent organization had enough of fighting the same battle again and again. Their solution to ending the tax proposal once and for all was an amendment to Montana's constitution by specifically prohibiting the tax.
Working with the stakeholder organizations and a team of expert campaign vendors, we put our extensive grassroots-organization and political-management experience to work to successfully pass the constitutional amendment. The Montana Group helped to develop a campaign plan spanning the initial market research, to ballot qualification, to electioneering and get-out-the-vote programs. Our own Chuck Denowh served as the official campaign manager and primary, on-the-record spokesperson for the campaign.
The first challenge faced by the effort was to qualify the initiative for Montana's General Election. Ballot access requires a significant petitioning effort—10% of Montana voters—with required geographic diversity. We helped coordinate a team of paid-petitions and volunteers throughout the state and came in ahead of schedule with a number of signatures that exceeded our goal.
Once the initiative qualified for the ballot, the next phase of the campaign was to increase and maintain support for it leading into November. Using an extensive network of grassroots activists, earned media, and a full-scale direct mail, radio, and television advertising campaign we were able to increase awareness of the ballot initiative and its underlying issues.
And what a success. On Election Day we achieved a landslide victory, winning in every county with a total of 73% of the vote.
With large geographic distances and an even larger diversity of culture, the political landscape in Montana can be difficult to navigate, let alone organize a statewide grassroots effort. But that's exactly what is necessary to win a Presidential Caucus.
The Montana Group's grassroots ability was put to the test in the first-ever Presidential Caucus in Montana with the challenge of assembling an effective caucus organization in each of Montana's 56 counties. After developing a sophisticated voter tracking system, we implemented a volunteer phone survey program to identify those caucus-goers already in our camp, those committed to other candidates, and, most importantly, those still on the fence and persuadable.
From there we switched gears to focus on volunteer advocacy calls to the uncommitted voters, and a letter-to-the-editor writing campaign to shore up support behind our candidate. The final phase was a GOTV effort to ensure that our identified supporters would make it to their county caucus.
The entire plan worked with great success—we won with a double-digit lead over the next-closest candidate.
A grassroots movement usually starts with just a handful of committed activists passionate about an issue. From there it can snowball into a full-fledged advocacy organization with enough critical mass to become a sustained effort.
What starts with a single-issue can evolve into a group with the ability to take on multiple issue-fronts; and what a gratifying experience to help those initial activists achieve something far greater than they had originally envisioned was possible. But what determines whether an organization flourishes or fails is how it establishes its foundation.
Utilizing our expertise in organizational management , public relations and issue advocacy, the Montana Group helped one local start-up achieve a statewide presence and staying power that has helped them grow and establish themselves as a major force in Montana’s political environment. The United Property Owners of Montana was founded to focus on a localized controversy over hunting licenses in a handful of Central-Montana counties. That skirmish eventually developed into a full-fledged property rights cause for the group's founders and initial members. Today, UPOM has members across the state and represents nearly two million acres of privately owned property in Montana.
The Montana Group was there to help them at every stage of their development. We assisted with their initial message development to combat the hunting license controversy that initiated their founding. We directed an ongoing membership drive to expand their base, which also prompted them to increase the scope of the issues they addressed. And we helped them develop a legislative agenda and served as their primary lobbying team for the past two legislative sessions.
With our help, what started as a single-issue, temporary group has struck a chord with property owners throughout Montana and become one of the most-respected, most-effective rural advocacy groups in the state.
With over 30 years of political, policy, and management experience, the Montana Group is ready to help you with your challenges in Montana. A hallmark of our success has always been a team approach that allows us to offer our clients a wide-rage of capabilities custom-tailored to their needs. Here's what we can help you with.
Lobbying & compliance
Take advantage of our excellent legislative & administration relationships.
Message development & earned media specialists.
DATA ANALYSIS & DEVELOPMENT
Economist-in-residence ready to crunch your data, big or small. Data cleaning, analysis, visulization, and forecasting.
PAC management & compliance
Prospect development, direct mail & contact, event management, compliance reporting, and major-donor cultivation for non-profit organizations & political campaigns.
CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT & CONSULTING
No one matches our campaign management experience. We can develop your campaign plan from scratch and run it start to finish.
Member communications & recruitment, public relations, abd event management.
Take advantage of our the grassroots army we work with on a regular basis. Generate earned media, grassroots lobbying contacts, and reach local influentials.
WEB DEVELOPMENT & SOCIAL MEDIA
We can help establish or build your web presence through state-of-the-art web platforms.
Chuck's wide range of political and policy experience are one of the greatest assets of the Montana Group. He specializes in grassroots organization, public relations, fundraising, and campaign management. Chuck served as the Chief Policy Advisor to the Republican caucus in the Montana House of Representatives before serving four years as the Executive Director of the Montana Republican Party. During his tenure at the Montana GOP, Chuck oversaw a modernization of party programs, grew the party from three employees to twenty, and tripled fundraising.
Chuck joined the Montana Group in 2006. He has managed dozens advocacy campaigns for corporate and non-profit organizations, as well as working on some of biggest political campaigns in the state, including managing races for Attorney General, Governor, and three successful ballot initiatives. Most recently he managed the CI-116 constitutional initiative, which was enacted with 65 percent of the vote.
Chuck grew up in Sidney; he has earned a BA in political science and an MPA, both from the University of Montana and an MS in Applied Economics from the University of North Dakota.
Shelby has been as integral part of the Montana Group since 2009. Her expertise centers on association management, communications and public relations, web development, graphic design, and government affairs.
Shelby, a Montana native from Dillon, Mont., has served in numerous roles for advocacy and political campaigns, including most recently as the Communications Director and Press Secretary for Congressman Ryan Zinke's campaign committee. DeMars has also served as spokesperson for number of issue campaigns and consulted for dozens of political candidates in Montana. Shelby attended Carroll College in Helena. Her education is in Political Science, Business Administration, and Economics.
Dennis Iverson’s background in business and government has developed his natural talent for communication, problem solving, and bringing diverse points of view to consensus. Dennis’s extensive lobbying experience covers the last fifteen legislative sessions. Dennis was elected to the Montana House of Representatives in 1979. Over five terms he served on the Appropriations and Taxation Committees, chaired the House Natural Resources Committee, and was elected Speaker Pro Tempore by his colleagues.
Dennis served as an advisor to Governor Stan Stephens and was appointed by Stephens as Director of the Montana Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, a large, complex agency of diverse programs, controversial issues, and over 400 employees. Dennis serves on the board of directors of the Western Natural Gas Company and has served on the board of the Northern Montana Oil and Gas Association, as the President of the Montana Association of Realtors and as President of the University of Montana Alumni Association.
Max Hunsaker brings a diverse skill-set founded in association management, government affairs, and business development to the clients of the Montana Group.
Max has significant private sector experience, including the design, construction, and successful launch of a chain of high-end convenience stores, providing him with a hands-on understanding of the needs of business leaders and industry associations. He also regularly provides marketing and turn-around consulting services to retail operations throughout the western United States.
Prior to joining the Montana Group, Max served in several positions with the Montana Republican Party, eventually earning the position of Executive Director. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Montana Business Leadership Council, a non- partisan, non-profit 501(c)6 business league designed to reverse the negative attitudes towards business and improve the overall economic climate in Montana.
Max is a member of the American Society of Public Administration and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Public Administration.