Thursday Numbers

Welcome to “Thursday Numbers!” In case you’re new around here, “Thursday Numbers” is the weekly column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with sarcasm.

This week’s topics include campaign fundraising, George W. Bush & veterans, U.S. Army cuts, 40th Helicopter Squadron, unemployment, fundraiser for Bullock, music, U.S. Marines, electricity rate increase, fatal automotive accidents & Montana, and much more…

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MT Senate 2014: Next?

With Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau saying no to a 2014 U.S. Senate and U.S. House bid on Monday, the bench is getting a little empty for the Montana Democrats.

Brian Schweitzer – No. Monica Lindeen – No. Stephanie Schriock – No.

The Montana Democrats may be forced to hold a convention, place everyone’s name in a hat, and draw a name. That person would have to run for U.S. Senate.

Frankly, if the Democrats lose the Montana Senate seat to the Republicans, it’s Max Baucus’ fault. Baucus’ sudden decision to retire without a heads up to someone he wanted to take over the seat he’s occupied for decades has left his Montana Democratic Party in a pickle. They are also several hundred thousand fundraising dollars behind Steve Daines, who may be the GOP’s candidate for U.S. Senate.

Max will have to write some checks from his campaign coffers to get back in the good graces of the Montana Democrats.

But there’s good news!   Continue reading

MT Senate 2014: Oh Schriock!

It’s the last day of July and the Montana Democrats have failed so far to attract the biggest names to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in 2014. That’s the seat currently occupied by Senator Max Baucus, who is retiring.

Former Governor Brian Schweitzer is taking a pass, State Auditor Monica Lindeen said nope, and now Stephanie Schriock, who is the President of Emily’s list, yesterday announced that she is not running.

Since everyone has probably played Monopoly, let me compare the game of Monopoly to the Montana Senate race. These three people deciding against running are like the Democrats just missed landing on Boardwalk, Park Place, and Pennsylvania Avenue. Realistically, they only have a couple people remaining who can be their North Carolina and Pacific Avenue – and maybe win the seat.

By the way, there are several Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue candidates – many of them serve in the state legislature.  Continue reading

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.   Continue reading

Baucus: I Think I Will Go Home Now

The Washington Post citing Democratic sources reported yesterday morning that six-term United States Senator Max Baucus of Montana was retiring. A little later Baucus released a statement affirming that he was, in fact, retiring.

Then the speculation began about who would replace Baucus. Today, among that speculation is a love feast in Montana newspapers for Baucus.

Baucus had been raising money for his reelection, but he had also started building a home near Bozeman, which raised some doubts about his running again. Baucus will be 72 in 2014 which means he may have channeled Forrest Gump after that long run when he said, “I’m pretty tired…I think I will go home now.”

So far, Baucus raised almost $5 million for his race. That money will come in handy for Montana Democrats in 2014.

Last election (2008), Baucus disposed of his competition by a 73% to 27% margin. In 2002, he beat his opponent by 31%. Baucus was a great campaigner. He and his staff would go for the jugular on his opponents. They did not lose.

This year there was a lot of talk about former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer taking on Baucus in a primary. A recent Public Policy Poll showed Schweitzer beating Baucus “54% to 35% with Democratic primary voters.” As for running for the U.S. House or U.S. Senate, Schweitzer told the Associated Press last year “I am not goofy enough to be in the House, and I’m not senile enough to be in the Senate.”  Continue reading