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April 18, 2014

Posts in "Mont. Senate"

March 7, 2014

A Campaign’s Favorite Spokesperson: the Daughter

A candidate recently aimed to make a positive impression on voters by starring his female offspring in a TV ad.

It happens nearly every cycle — and it did again last week, with a new Senate campaign spot from Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont.

His two daughters, Annie and Caroline, told voters all about the positive points of his biography, highlighting the fact that he is a “fifth-generation Montanan.”

Full story

February 14, 2014

Governor to Reid: ‘None of Your Damn Business’ Whom I Appoint to Senate

Governor to Reid: None of Your Damn Business Whom I Appoint to Senate

Walsh was sworn into the Senate on Feb. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday he told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to mind his own “damn business” when the Nevada Democrat phoned him last year in an effort to influence his appointment to succeed Max Baucus in the Senate.

According to an account in the Helena Independent Record, Bullock told Montana reporters about his terse words with Reid. The phone call occurred before the administration’s announcement that Baucus would be nominated to be ambassador to China.

The Nevada Democrat had a big stake in the electability of Bullock’s pick. Reid’s party can lose no more than five Senate races to maintain his majority leader status, and the open-seat contest in Montana is one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities in November. Full story

February 12, 2014

Crossroads TV Ad Hits Newly Appointed Montana Senator

American Crossroads, a Republican-aligned super PAC, launched an ad Wednesday targeting Montana’s newly appointed Democratic Sen. John Walsh.

The ad highlights local TV news coverage of a 2010 investigation by the U.S. Army Inspector General that reportedly concluded Walsh abused government resources. Backed by a $125,000 buy, the ad will air for a week in Missoula, Billings and Helena.

“Walsh was formally reprimanded by the U.S. Army. … If they question Walsh’s ability to lead, Montana voters should too,” the announcer says in the 30-second spot.

Full story

February 7, 2014

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh Appointed to Replace Baucus

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh Appointed to Replace Baucus

Walsh, far right, visited the Capitol in November along with West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Win or lose in November, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Walsh will be the next senator from Montana.

Gov. Steve Bullock appointed his former running mate to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who is leaving the Senate early after being confirmed Thursday as ambassador to China.

Walsh was already running for the seat, but he’ll now run as the incumbent senator. That change could provide some inherent advantages in his quest to hold one of the party’s most vulnerable seats.

“I wanted to appoint someone who I truly believed would wake up each and every day wanting to put Montana and Montanans first,” Bullock said in a Friday news conference to announce the appointment. Full story

February 6, 2014

Montana Gov. Going ‘Through a Process’ to Replace Max Baucus (Updated) (Video)

Montana Gov. Going Through a Process to Replace Max Baucus (Updated) (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | The Senate’s confirmation Thursday of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as ambassador to China immediately sets off the need for an appointment to replace him.

The onus falls on Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who must choose someone to fill out the remaining year of Baucus’ term. The governor has scheduled a press conference for Friday at noon ET.

Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who was elected on the same ticket as Bullock in 2012, is already running for Senate. While he’s the odds-on favorite to be appointed, his selection to replace Baucus is no sure thing.

An ally of the administration confirmed to CQ Roll Call that Bullock “has gone through a process, been very hands on, but kept it really close to him and top aides — he’s watched failed appointments in the past and he’s not the kind of guy to make stupid errors.

“He’s a lawyer and he’s thorough,” the source continued. “I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Bullock picks someone close to him — his lieutenant governor or someone from the cabinet — but I would be surprised if he does it without having spent a great amount of time weighing pros and cons.” Full story

November 13, 2013

Schweitzer Not Helping Senate Democrats With Montana Primary

 

Schweitzer Not Helping Senate Democrats With Montana Primary

Schweitzer is in the middle of a new Senate primary in Montana. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former Montana Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger’s decision to seek the Democratic Senate nomination invited a primary the party didn’t want to have — and pushed a former player in that race back into the picture: former Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Schweitzer, who turned down the chance to run for the open seat, spoke with his former lieutenant before Bohlinger’s announcement last week. But Montana Democratic sources said he declined pleas from state party leaders to dissuade Bohlinger from running, with Lt. Gov. John Walsh already in the race.

In a phone interview with CQ Roll Call on Tuesday, Schweitzer said only that he had “conversations” with Bohlinger about “the good, the bad and the ugly” about the Senate and Washington, D.C. He thinks both Democrats would make “very good senators” and could defeat likely GOP nominee Rep. Steve Daines, but deciding the nominee is up to Montana voters.

In his trademark brashness, Schweitzer also claimed some credit for the fight.

“In fact, I guess I’m responsible since I plucked both of them from obscurity,” Schweitzer said. “To ask me to pick favorites is like asking a father to pick his favorite son.” Full story

October 31, 2013

Daines Holding ‘Special Event’ Next Week

Montana Rep. Steve Daines, who is widely expected to run for Senate, is inviting supporters to a “special event” next week.

According to an invitation distributed by the Daines campaign on Thursday, the Republican’s event will take place Nov. 6 at a Holiday Inn in Bozeman. The missive included an unchanged logo, “Daines U.S. Congress.”

“Steve wants an opportunity to thank supporters like you — we hope to see you there!” the invitation reads. Full story

October 23, 2013

Top GOP Recruit Expected to Make Senate Announcement Soon

Top GOP Recruit Expected to Make Senate Announcement Soon

Daines will likely run for Senate in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve Daines, one of the last remaining 2014 Senate recruit holdouts, is expected to announce his decision by the end of this year, according to a Montana Republican source familiar with his thinking.

To this point, Daines has refused to offer a timeline for a decision about whether to seek the Big Sky State’s open Senate seat, a top GOP pickup opportunity. He’s also noted that Montana voters want a shortened election season after a nearly two-year battle last cycle.

Daines reiterated both points in an Oct. 17 interview with Montana Public Radio, and he even seemed to indicate that he wouldn’t make an announcement until the new year. But the GOP source said that an announcement should come this quarter. Full story

October 3, 2013

Democrats Land Montana Senate Recruit

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh will run for Senate, providing Democrats with a key recruit for an open-seat race in a highly competitive state.

“Too many lawmakers back in Washington put their own agendas ahead of their responsibility to their constituents and to all Americans,” Walsh said in an advance statement obtained by the Associated Press.

Full story

September 24, 2013

Montana House Hopeful Hits Capitol Hill | #MTAL

Montana House Hopeful Hits Capitol Hill | #MTAL

Sonju met with Walden, right, about his House race in Montana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Montana state Sen. Jon Sonju was on Capitol Hill last week meeting with GOP-aligned groups ahead of a potential House bid in 2014.

Sonju, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor last year, spent much of Thursday at the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is preparing for a potential Senate bid by freshman GOP Rep. Steve Daines.

If Daines runs for Senate — very likely at this point — Republicans expect a crowded field of Republicans for his at-large House seat in the Big Sky State. Along with Sonju, the NRCC has also been in contact with former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, state Sen. Matt Rosendale and former state Sen. Ryan Zinke. Full story

September 11, 2013

The Cheap Seats: Senate Majority Determined in Inexpensive States

The Cheap Seats: Senate Majority Determined in Inexpensive States

Getting an ad on the air in a competitive Senate race next year may not break the bank, but that won’t change the unruly amount of money that will be spent.

A Senate playing field (view ratings map) constructed almost entirely of small media markets has several implications for the candidates, campaign committees and outside groups in the most targeted states next year. Above all, it likely guarantees an extended campaign season.

“It means the poor, unfortunate people who live in those states will be subjected to much more ugliness,” as Curt Anderson, a Republican media consultant, put it. Full story

September 3, 2013

Montana Senate Field Now Cleared for Daines | #MTSEN

Former Montana state Sen. Corey Stapleton confirmed to CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that he is dropping his Senate bid to run for the House instead.

“It’s official,” he said by phone.

The exit of the last remaining Republican in a top pickup opportunity for the GOP is the latest indication that Rep. Steve Daines will run for the open Senate seat.

Stapleton appeared to let Daines’ decision slip in an earlier interview with Montana’s Lee Newspapers. But Daines spokeswoman Alee Lockman said the congressman hasn’t “made any final decision yet” and still does not have a timeline to do so. Full story

August 19, 2013

Republicans Wait on Daines’ Decision in Montana Senate Race | #MTSEN #MTAL

Republicans Wait on Daines Decision in Montana Senate Race | #MTSEN #MTAL

Daines is mulling a Senate bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Montana state Sen. Matt Rosendale, a Republican, recently filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to start raising money to run for Congress — he’s just not sure which office yet.

Like several other ambitious Republicans in the state, his decision to run for either the House or Senate will depend on whether Rep. Steve Daines, a freshman Republican, enters the race for Montana’s open Senate seat. Even state Rep. Champ Edmunds, who is currently in the Senate race, has said he would switch races if Daines jumps in.

As Rosendale’s campaign treasurer, Bill VanCanagan, wrote in a note filed Aug. 16 to the FEC, “we will not designate which office is being sought until Representative Steve Daines announces whether he’s seeking re-election for the U.S. House of Representatives or running for the U.S. Senate.”

Either would be a statewide race, as Montana has only one representative in the House. Full story

August 13, 2013

Ex-Congressman Says No to Montana Senate Bid #MTSEN

Former Rep. Pat Williams, D-Mont., told Lee Newspapers on Monday that he strongly considered, but ultimately opted against, running for the Big Sky State’s open Senate seat.

Williams, who left Congress in 1997 after nine terms and would turn 77 before Election Day next year, said he’d been fielding calls urging him to run for three months — though he didn’t say whether any of them came from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Since former Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s surprise decision not to run, a few other prospective Democratic candidates have followed suit. The top names that remain in the recruitment mix include Lt. Gov. John Walsh and state Supreme Court Justice Brian Morris. Full story

August 12, 2013

Reid: West Virginia Democratic Recruit to Announce ‘Shortly’ #WVSEN

Reid: West Virginia Democratic Recruit to Announce Shortly #WVSEN

Reid assessed his party's recruitment status in a recent interview. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After eight months of searching, have Senate Democrats finally found a recruit in West Virginia? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yes in a recent interview.

“I think we’re going to be very competitive in — in West Virginia, we have a candidate there who should be announcing shortly,” the Nevada Democrat told a local PBS affiliate about the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

Reid did not divulge the Democrat’s name during the interview on “Nevada Week in Review.” Several Democrats have passed on the race, and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant remains as the only prominent recruit who has not declined to run yet. Full story

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