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April 24, 2014

Posts in "Montana"

January 14, 2014

Rothenberg’s Dangerous Dozen Open House Seats

tennis004 050813 445x300 Rothenberg’s Dangerous Dozen Open House Seats

McIntyre is retiring, giving Republicans a strong opportunity to pick up his House seat in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I wrote my first Dangerous Dozen open House seats column in this space 14 years ago, so I figured I might as well keep the streak going, though it isn’t nearly as impressive as Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak.

As in my Jan. 17, 2000, column, the districts are listed in order of vulnerability. “All of the races on the list currently are worth watching, but I’ve concluded that the races at the top of the list are more likely to change party control than those at the bottom,” I wrote back then. The same applies now.

Utah’s 4th District (Jim Matheson, a Democrat, is retiring.)

Barack Obama received 41 percent of the vote in this district in 2008, but only 30 percent in his bid for re-election. No Democrat will begin with Matheson’s goodwill or moderate record, making the district impossible to hold for his party. After November, Republicans will control all four of the state’s House districts and both Senate seats. Full story

December 19, 2013

The Democratic Escape Plan in Montana

luncheon014 100113 445x296 The Democratic Escape Plan in Montana

Baucus is retiring. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Most handicappers have believed for months that Republicans have a good chance to pick up a Montana Senate seat next year. But once again, Democrats have a plan that just may help them hold that seat. It’s a plan that worked in the past, but will it work once again?

According to multiple media reports, President Barack Obama is set to appoint Democratic Sen. Max Baucus as the next ambassador to China. If Baucus is confirmed and vacates his seat, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock will get to appoint his successor until the November 2014 elections. Full story

October 28, 2013

6 Democratic House Candidates With Plenty of Potential

bilbray kohn003 101013 212x335 6 Democratic House Candidates With Plenty of Potential

Bilbray will try to unseat Heck in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In this political environment, not having an extensive legislative record can be an asset. Not surprisingly then, three of six Democratic House candidates I interviewed recently have never before sought elective office, and a fourth was elected as a judge, not a legislator. (I will discuss a seventh Democratic hopeful, Martha Robertson, in a separate column.)

Considered as a group, the half-dozen hopefuls deserve to be mentioned in any discussion of Democratic House takeover opportunities in 2014. The only question is how many of them will continue to be in the conversation one year from today. Full story

October 11, 2013

Can John Lewis Break Democrats’ Losing Streak in Montana?

While Democrats have controlled both Montana Senate seats since Jon Tester’s initial victory in 2006, and the party has had no trouble winning the governorship, the state’s at-large House district has been much more elusive. John Lewis hopes to break the streak.

No, it’s not that John Lewis you’re thinking of.

This one is a 35-year-old Democrat who spent a dozen years working for Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. Baucus is retiring next year and the state’s lone House representative, Republican Steve Daines, is expected to run to succeed him. Meanwhile, Lewis is the lone Democrat in the race to replace Daines. His journey won’t be easy.

Democrats haven’t won a House race in Montana since 1994 when incumbent Rep. Pat Williams won re-election with 48.7 percent. The seat has been open three times in the past two decades (1996, 2000 and 2012). Republicans won each of those contests but with 52 percent twice and 53 percent last year.

Since Daines hasn’t officially announced his intentions, the Republican field is still developing. But state Sen. Matt Rosendale, state Rep. Champ Edmunds and former state Sen. Corey Stapleton are expected to run.

Recent history is working against Lewis. But he should have no trouble raising money and putting together a quality field operation from his connections to former Baucus aides, including Jim Messina. Lewis should be taken seriously.

Montana’s at-large district is now rated Republican Favored (from Safe Republican) according to Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

August 13, 2013

RATINGS CHANGE: Montana Senate

daines 011 030513 445x285 RATINGS CHANGE: Montana Senate

Daines is seriously considering a bid for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A month ago, Stuart Rothenberg made the case for why the Montana Senate seat remained a pure tossup. But now that former Gov. Brian Schweitzer is not running on the Democratic side, and Rep. Steve Daines is likely to run on the GOP side, Republicans should start this open seat race with a very narrow advantage.

First, a quick look back at Rothenberg’s description of the political landscape in Big Sky Country: Full story

July 15, 2013

Montana Senate Rating: Move or Reaffirm?

Since Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., announced he would not seek re-election in late April, we have rated the Montana Senate race as a Pure Tossup — a reflection of our uncertainty about the Democratic candidacy of former Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Yes, Schweitzer has always seemed ambitious. And yes, he has never passed up an opportunity for self-promotion. But questions about his future business interests caused us to be cautious about the race, so we parked it in the Tossup category. Full story

Top 5 Races to Watch in the Mountain Region

There are many wide-open spaces but few competitive races in the Rocky Mountain West. Even though the important contests are few, they could be good indicators of which party has the upper hand next fall.

Here are the top five races to watch in the Mountain region:

Montana Senate. Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer accounted for his party’s A, B, and C plans for recruitment in this state, so Democratic strategists were willing to wait for his decision. So his Saturday announcement that he would not run for the seat leaves his party without a candidate and makes this a top pick-up opportunity for Republicans. GOP Rep. Steve Daines seems like a likely candidate, especially with Schweitzer out. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Pending.

Full story

April 23, 2013

Baucus Exit Turns Montana Senate Race Into Tossup

Baucus042313 445x289 Baucus Exit Turns Montana Senate Race Into Tossup

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The announcement that Montana Democrat Max Baucus is retiring shakes up the fight for the Senate in 2014 more than a bit.

Baucus has been mentioned as a GOP target, but only a second-tier one, far behind Republican opportunities in two open seats — West Virginia and South Dakota — and against two Democratic incumbents, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana.

But an open seat in Montana catapults that contest into the top tier as a potential Republican takeover opportunity. Full story

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