City Council candidate attacks mayor as “fat, drunk & stupid,” criticizes “paper” challenger

Mayor John Engen, left, has filed to seek another term as Missoula mayor while Lisa Triepke, right, looks to win the job. Both were criticized by Greg Strandberg, who is looking to represent Ward 4 on the City Council.

A candidate running for the Missoula City Council called the city’s mayor “fat, drunk and stupid” in a recent blog post and said his challenger “was not a serious candidate” for the job.

Greg Strandberg, who is running to represent Ward 4 on the City Council, attacked Mayor John Engen and his challenger Lisa Triepke in the post that initially appeared in April and was tweeted by Strandberg again on Tuesday.

The candidate also described Missoula County Republicans as a feckless party due to their inability to “field” a challenger to the mayor, and he railed against local voters for passing several recent bonds.

If he could afford the filing fee, Strandberg added, he would run for mayor himself.

“First of all, the guy (Engen) has so little self-control that he can’t stop eating,” Strandberg wrote. “Then the guy can’t stop drinking. Currently he’s taking a break from drinking, but I expect he’ll be off the wagon again soon.”

Strandberg did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment, though he was active all day on Twitter.

His blog post, titled “Fat, Drunk & Stupid,” attempted to make an argument against the policies of Engen’s administration and the City Council, though its facts have been panned as being wildly inaccurate.

Strandberg, who filed his intention to run for City Council in 2015 and made two failed runs at the state Legislature in 2014 and 2016, has been a perennial critic of Missoula city politics.

But it’s the candidate’s choice of words and use of false facts that has set him apart from other candidates seeking local office and local solutions.

“How do you feel about that?” he wrote regarding city taxes. “Probably not as good as that fat, drunk & stupid mayor of ours. He’s laughing all the way to the bank, and with your money spilling out of his pockets … Personally, it makes me sick.”

Engen declined comment on Tuesday.

Strandberg also called Lisa Triepke a “paper candidate” in her bid to challenge Engen in the race for mayor. He suggested she had been propped up by a conspiracy to “dissuade anyone else” from running.

Greg Strandberg

“Lisa Triepke is not a serious candidate for mayor,” Strandberg wrote. “She has no campaign website, and you type her name in Google, nothing comes up.”

Triepke does in fact have a campaign website and her name does appear in a simple Google search.

In an email, Triepke said she and Strandberg have since spoken and she now claims him as a supporter. She said she had not yet corresponded with Strandberg when he wrote his initial post.

While Strandberg didn’t return calls seeking comment, Triepke said he has “changed his tune” about her candidacy.

“(Strandberg), as well as most other people I have talked to in the community, are in support of my campaign after having listened to my platform issues of creating an economic environment where we can afford to live, work and thrive,” Triepke said in her email response.

Triepke did not respond to questions on whether Strandberg’s choice of words was appropriate for someone seeking an elected office in Missoula.

Contact reporter Martin Kidston at info@missoulacurrent.com