MT Senate 2014: Advantage GOP

On Saturday I almost decided to write about former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer’s decision not to run for the U.S. Senate, but I chose to wait until today. My reason for waiting was that I figured just about everyone (and their aunt and uncle) would be writing about ol Brian’s decision.

I was correct.

Schweitzer was the center of attention for most of Saturday and his “NO” to the U.S. Senate race rolled across Merica via Twitter, Facebook, and the Associated Press wire services – maybe even carrier pigeon.

Schweitzer’s decision left Democrats with a vacancy they did not think they would need to fill. It looks as though they were left a little flat-footed with a lot of blah, blah, blah, coming from their convention afterwards.

The Sunday Great Falls Tribune published a story by reporter John Adams about Schweitzer and connections to dark money. Read it HERE. To me the most interesting part of Adams’ reporting was the part in the second paragraph that stated, “POLITICO reported that Democratic leaders uncovered a ‘laundry list of opposition research’ into Schweitzer’s past that could have ‘crippled a Schweitzer campaign.’”

Republicans were probably thinking, “Wow, it took them long enough.” Adams also wrote, “Schweitzer did not return multiple phone calls inquiring into the matter.”

I seriously doubt the Tribune report or the POLITICO story had anything to do with Schweitzer not running for U.S. Senate. Schweitzer does not seem to be the type of person who wants to follow or be one of a hundred in D.C. The “grind” of working three days a week in D.C. and spending two days per week on an airplane to and from Montana would get old for Schweitzer really fast.

Deep down Schweitzer (and almost everyone else) knows the senate seat was his if he really wanted it.

The Montana Cowgirl and the Montana Street Fighter have taken a look at possible contenders HERE and HERE.  I’m leaning toward EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock because she could raise some serious cash quickly. She knows Montana (Butte native) and was Senator Jon Tester’s campaign manager and Chief of Staff.  

As for the Montana GOP, Saturday was a beautiful day not only weather-wise in Montana, but also the political forecast for them was a little sunnier. I imagine if a person was walking by the GOP headquarters in Helena Saturday morning after the Schweitzer announcement, they may have heard the GOP staffers shouting one of my favorite phrases from the movie “Dumb & Dumber,” “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…YEAH!”

O.K., I doubt any staffer was actually at GOP Headquarters on a Saturday in July, but I never like to miss an opportunity to use a quote from “Dumb & Dumber.”

So now all eyes are on first-term Congressman Steve Daines – the leader of the Republicans and a Tea Party favorite in Montana. Will Daines again change races, this time from the U.S. House to the U.S. Senate? To me Daines seems like an opportunist and someone who has trouble being satisfied with his present occupation, so I am leaning toward him running for Senate. With his track record, he may even run for Governor in 2016!

If Daines does run for the senate, Montana again drops to the bottom of the seniority in the House and that does hurt. But if he does run for the open senate seat, it does give Democrats a real good opportunity to pick up a House seat.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Montana might be asking, “Where in the heck is Denny Rehberg – didn’t he want to be a U.S. Senator a few months ago?”

Sadly, Montana’s 2014 Senate campaign will be a lot less exciting without Brian and his dog…

Follow me on Twitter @TheWesternWord

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