Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Montana Senator Max Baucus to Retire

Max Baucus has been acting eight ways to Sunday like a senator who is fighting for re-election in red state Montana next year.  He built a $5 million campaign war chest.  He is fighting Democratic progressive colleagues on taxes.  He took on HHS Secretary and the Obama administration on the botched implementation of (the impossible to implement) Obamacare the week before last.  He sided with gun rights supporters across the board in Senate gun control votes last week.  And he has been touring the state and pressing the flesh with vigor.

Senator Max Baucus working the counter at Wheat Montana Bakery
Three Forks, Montana, February 18, 2013

Baucus surprisingly announced today he will not seek a seventh senate term.  

It is widely reported that recently retired populist governor Brian Schweitzer (D - MT) is interested in the post.  If Baucus retires early, Democratic governor Steve Bullock likely would appoint Schweitzer to fill the vacant seat for the remainder of its term.   Schweitzer is a strong gun rights advocate who has declared that he has no national political aspirations. 

BOZEMAN — Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer says his position on gun control is one reason he couldn't step onto the national political stage.  Political pundits have mentioned Schweitzer as a possible candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports a bearded Schweitzer told some Montana State University students on Thursday that he couldn't give an acceptable answer to voters in states like Iowa and Florida if they asked him about gun control. He says his response would be something like: "You control yours, I'll control mine."
Schweitzer was governor for eight years before leaving office due to term limits. Schweitzer and a New York-based hedge fund are working to oust the board of Stillwater Mining Co., over its investment in a copper mine in Argentina and other mines in Canada.
It will be interesting to see how jumping out of the governorship into work for a New York hedge fund sits with Montana voters. Also, can the Republicans identify a candidate who breaks free from the establishment mold with a populist streak that counters Schweitzer's popularity? It will be political season strong between now and November 2014 in Montana.

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