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Senate Republicans meet for pep talk

By Associated Press
Published On: Jan 17 2013 03:21:49 PM MST
helena capitol
HELENA, Mont -

Montana Senate Republican leaders are holding a pep talk for their members after documents detailing an internal power struggle publicly exposed a widening rift within the caucus.
    
But the ousted leaders and self-described "Reagan Republicans" say they are skeptical their policy goals will be respected.
    
Earlier this week, emails published by the Great Falls Tribune revealed plans by conservative Republicans to take over Senate leadership from a more moderate faction.
    
Senate President Jeff Essmann told the caucus Thursday he will let the group decide policy goals, and said he does not consider himself their "puppet master."
    
But state Sen. Bruce Tutvedt of Kalispell says he doesn't believe it. He says the "extremists" in power spent a lot of money during elections attacking moderates because they have an undisclosed agenda.