As Democratic Senator Max Baucus makes his exit, Montana is up for grabs in 2014. Then again, that’s after Baucus helped guide the Obamacare the Senate, only to leave after he saw the impending “train wreck” over its implementation. Yet, it’s not a safe Republican pick-up next year. Former Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer is standing in the way.
Schweitzer was term-limited, but he could dive into the Montana race and win. On the other hand, he’s known for his boisterous persona, which could sink his chances – and make him the “Todd Akin” of the ’14 cycle. It won’t be in the vein of making an irrational statement about rape and pregnancy, but will follow what the mindset that plagued Akin in 2012: not knowing when to shut up.
NRSC Communications Director, Brad Dayspring, wrote in an email on July 8:
The loud-mouthed former Governor of Montana who recently began calling reporters in Washington to tell them how much he hates Washington despite his constant visits for TV appearances, election watching, dinners, yadda yadda, is expected to run for Senate. Weird timing, considering that just last week, it was reported that a “nonprofit group” tied to two appointees of former Gov. Brian Schweitzer shared the governor’s campaign address and received contributions from an organization that Schweitzer was involved in, even as the governor was bashing other such nonprofits for hiding from state disclosure laws.
Regardless of timing, we’ve spent months preparing through intensive groundwork, research and investigation. What have we found? Brian Schweitzer is a deeply flawed candidate with a propensity to talk too much, say too many offensive things, and bully those he believes to be beneath him. If anyone is looking for the 2014 cycle’s Todd Akin, we’ve found him, and his name is Brian Schweitzer. The difference is that Schweitzer’s pattern of inappropriate and offensive gaffes are a result of narcissism, bullying and bluster. Jump in the pool Governor! Water’s warm!
Well, the miasma of narcissism certainly emanated from Akin. His refusal to drop out of the Missouri Senate race damaged the Republican Party in 2012 – and hurt the pro-life movement as well. Nevertheless, Republicans still have a tough fight ahead if Schweitzer decides to throw his hat into the ring. The former governor could decide to sit this one out due to the reasons listed above, but that seems unlikely. With the exception of Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, whose ties to money makes her a plausible heavyweight candidate, the Democrats have yet to find the cream of the crop in any of the senate races next year. Democratic Senator Mark Begich in Alaska is only doing well because the Alaska GOP is in disarray after a period of civil war. Let’s hope that’s subsided.
Yet, given that Schweitzer won re-election in 2008 with 65% of the vote, Democrats will be aggressive trying to recruit him.
Seth McLaughlin of the Washington Times also wrote on July 8 that:
“If former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) surprises everyone and doesn’t run for the open Senate seat of retiring Democrat Max Baucus in Montana, Republicans will have another likely pick up,” the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics said in a recent breakdown of the race.
Public Policy Polling also released a poll last month showed that the race would be a toss-up between Mr. Schweitzer and the likely GOP contenders, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines and former Gov. Marc Racicot.