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Creating a systematic Montana legislator Twitter list

capitol-w-treesThe Montana Legislature began yesterday, and I found myself looking for a good Twitter list of legislators to follow.

After several pleas on the social network for a comprehensive list, no answers came, leading me to believe that no one had made a systematic effort to create such a list.

So that’s what I spent yesterday afternoon doing.

###The Method

I began with the [legislative roster]( and simply began Google searching each name in alphabetical order.

The first search was for “LEGISLATOR NAME twitter.” Often this produced easy results, except in those cases where the legislator’s name is a common one. In that case, a second search was conducted for “LEGISLATOR NAME montana,” which often led either directly to campaign websites or to the candidates’ [Ballotpedia]( page, which usually lists campaign or personal websites.

If I received a Twitter account matching the name of a candidate, I attempted to verify it as the actual legislator’s account by examining followers and those the account was following. Recognizable Montana Twitter users on that list were used as confirmation that the Twitter account was the correct one.

When used as sources, candidates’ campaign or personal websites were examined to see if they provided a Twitter account link on the homepage or contact page.

In the case where Twitter handles were clearly campaign related, like @NAMEforHDXX, extra searches were made to determine if the candidate had created another account since the end of the campaign.

###The Result

[It speaks for itself](

###Not Found

The following legislators for the 2013 session did not have findable Twitter handles. I expect many of them do not have Twitter accounts at all, but as you can see by my methodology — systematic not exhaustive — I could have missed a few.

* Elsie M. Arntzen (R)
* Nancy Ballance (R)
* Liz Bangerter (R)
* Debby Barrett (R)
* Jerry Bennett
* Tom Berry (R)
* Mark Blasdel (R)
* Anders Blewett (D)
* Cydnie (Carlie) Boland (D)
* John C. Brenden (R)
* Clarena Brockie (D)
* Randy Brodehl (R)
* Dee L. Brown (R)
* Taylor Brown (R)
* Edward Buttrey (R)
* Forrestina Calf Boss Ribs (D)
* Rob Cook (R)
* Virginia Court (D)
* Mike Cuffe (R)
* Amanda Curtis (D)
* Robyn Driscoll (D)
* Kimberly Dudik (D)
* Jenny Eck (D)
* Tom Facey (D)
* Jennifer Fielder (R)
* Clayton Fiscus (R)
* Steve Fitzpatrick (R)
* Kelly Flynn (R)
* Wylie Galt (R)
* Steve Gibson (R)
* Carl Glimm (R)
* Edward Greef (R)
* Roger Hagan (R)
* Dave Hagstrom (R)
* David Halvorson (R)
* Bradley Maxon Hamlett (D)
* Kristin Hansen (R)
* Bill Harris (R)
* Greg Hertz (R)
* Roy Hollandsworth (R)
* Brian Hoven (R)
* David Howard (R)
* Chuck Hunter (D)
* Pat Ingraham (R)
* Verdell Jackson (R)
* Larry Jent (D) — found account is suspected fake
* Greg Jergeson (D)
* Donald W. Jones (R)
* Llew Jones (R)
* Jim Keane (D)
* Krayton Kerns (R)
* Mike Lang (R)
* Cliff Larsen (D)
* Steve Lavin (R)
* Dennis Lenz (R)
* Dave Lewis (R)
* Ed Lieser (D)
* Ryan Lynch (D)
* Margaret MacDonald (D)
* Kelly McCarthy (D)
* Bill McChesney (D)
* Edith McClafferty (D)
* Mary McNally (D)
* Jonathan McNiven (R)
* Robert Mehlhoff (D)
* David Moore (R)
* Frederick (Eric) Moore (R)
* Terry Murphy (R)
* Reilly Neill (D)
* Jesse O’Hara (R)
* Alan Olson (R)
* Jerry O’Neil (R)
* Ryan Osmundson (R)
* Carolyn Pease-Lopez (D)
* Rae Peppers (D)
* Jim Peterson (R)
* Mike Phillips (D)
* Gordon Pierson (D)
* Jean Price (D)
* Jason Priest (R)
* Lee Randall (R)
* Alan Redfield (R)
* Keith Regier (R)
* Scott Reichner (R)
* Matthew Rosendale (R)
* Scott Sales (R)
* Daniel Saloman
* Casey Schreiner (D)
* Jon Sesso (D)
* Ray Shaw (R)
* Bridget Smith (D)
* Cary Smith (R)
* Jon Sonju (R)
* Carolyn Squires (D)
* Tom Steenberg (D)
* Sharon Stewart-Peregoy (D)
* Kathy Swanson (D)
* Janna Taylor (R)
* Fred Thomas (R)
* Mitch Tropila (D)
* Gordon Vance (R)
* Chas Vincent (R)
* David Wanzenried (D)
* Ted Washburn (R)
* Roger Webb (R)
* Kerry White (R)
* Lea Whitford (D)
* Kathleen Williams (D)
* Nancy Wilson (D)
* Jonathan Windy Boy (D)
* Art Wittich (R)
* Tom Woods (D)
* Daniel Zolnikov (R) [@DanielZolnikov](


Obviously, the majority of legislators do not appear to have Twitter accounts. In fact, many of them did not put up campaign websites at all — at least none that were findable on Jan. 7, 2013.

Many legislators clearly value Facebook over Twitter. A majority of those with campaign websites and no easily findable Twitter accounts did have a presence on Facebook, whether as a fan page or group.

(As an unrelated observation, there are an awful lot of Democrats in the middle of the alphabet.)


I welcome anyone familiar with the [#mtleg]( scene on Twitter to examine this list of missing legislative Twitter users and let me know if they have an account to match any of these names. I will add it to the list I have created.