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- Franken Maintains Lead in Minnesota
- Senator's Refusal to Resign Changed South Dakota Politics
Posts in "Mont. Senate"
August 16, 2014
The Montana Democratic Party nominated state Rep. Amanda Curtis on Saturday to replace retiring Sen. John Walsh on the ballot in November.
Curtis, a 34-year-old, first-term state legislator and high school math teacher from Butte, enters the contest a heavy underdog against Republican Rep. Steve Daines — as was Walsh. The race is rated Favored Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Walsh, appointed to the Senate in February but plagued by a plagiarism scandal, announced on Aug. 7 he would not seek a full term. Since the primary had already passed, state Democrats held a convention Saturday morning at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena to select a new nominee. Full story
August 7, 2014
Montana Sen. John Walsh said Thursday he won’t be coming back to the Senate next year, confirming what was already the most likely conclusion to his campaign.
Walsh announced he is ending his bid to retain the seat he was appointed to in February, a decision reached less than three months before the election and days before a critical state deadline to remove his name from the ballot.
Republicans were already highly likely to win this seat in November. Now Democrats hope Walsh’s exit is at least beneficial to their efforts in other races in the state. Full story
August 4, 2014
Three months before Election Day, it’s clear some senators may not return to Congress after the midterms — and that’s mostly good news for Republicans.
The GOP’s path to the Senate majority includes a mix of open seats and targeted Democratic incumbents. The two most vulnerable seats are in South Dakota and West Virginia, where Democratic senators are retiring. Republicans also have opportunities in open seats in Iowa and, to a lesser degree, Michigan.
But even if they are victorious in those states, the GOP must defeat at least two incumbents to reach the net six seats needed for control.
Luckily for Republicans, Democrats make up the vast majority of endangered senators seeking re-election. The GOP has a lengthy catalog of states where it has an opportunity to win, though there is a wide gap betweenthe No. 1 and No. 10 most vulnerable senators — who are ordered by most likely to lose.
Roll Call’s “10 Most Vulnerable Senators” list will be updated monthly ahead of the Nov. 4 elections. For now, here is where the incumbents stand: Full story
July 27, 2014
With 100 days to go until Election Day, Senate Republicans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about winning the majority — but they also have grounds for concern.
After coming up short in 2010 and 2012, the GOP is unquestionably well positioned to finish the job this time. Republicans need to match their November 2010 score of six seats to take the majority, and the party has multiple paths to the finish line.
That’s thanks to a successful recruitment push that didn’t conclude until late February, and a playing field naturally tilted in the GOP’s direction — seven Democrat-held seats are in states President Barack Obama lost in 2012, six of those by double digits.
But, as optimistic as Republican operatives are heading into the final stretch, the GOP has reasons to restrain its confidence. With tens of millions of dollars of advertising already spent by outside groups on both sides, just one Democratic incumbent is, at this point, a solid underdog for re-election.
Reasons for Republicans to Be Optimistic Full story
June 1, 2014
After a relatively unsurprising series of primaries this month, June brings another collection of intraparty contests. More than half of the states will have selected their nominees by the end of the month.
Republicans will pick nominees in key Senate races in Mississippi, Iowa and South Dakota. Down the ballot, House primaries in several open seats will likely determine the future members of Congress from both parties.
Here is Roll Call’s comprehensive look at watch to watch in June. Bookmark this page, and check out our primary map for results from past primaries.
With primaries in eight states, this date marks the busiest night of the cycle.
Alabama: In the 6th District, seven Republicans are running in an open-seat race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus. This district is located in and around Birmingham. State Rep. Paul DeMarco is the front-runner, followed by Club for Growth-backed surgeon Chad Mathis and businessman Will Brooke. If no candidate garners at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will continue to a July 15 runoff. Polls close at 8 p.m. EST. (Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Safe Republican)
California: In this House race battleground, the top-two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Republicans will also pick a gubernatorial nominee who could have an impact down the ballot in November. Polls close at 11 p.m. EST. Here are the primaries to watch in the Golden State:
March 7, 2014
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.”
February 14, 2014
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
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.
February 7, 2014
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
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
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
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
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
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.
September 24, 2013
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