I was out of the office for the last couple of days, so that is why the blog was a little silent, especially since everybody and their mother on the Democratic side of the aisle seemed to be telling the Montana media how great of a candidate they would be for the US Senate or the US House next year. Many have since declined a Congressional run.
In the meantime, anonymous sources close to former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) are now speaking out to the media, after other anonymous Democrats (likely tied to Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus) spoke out against Schweitzer.
Here’s the explosive new piece from BusinessInsider.com headlined, “Montana Infighting May Have Cost Democrats Control Of The US Senate In 2014.”
The main target of their ire: U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D). In the week before Schweitzer decided not to run, Democratic leaders began have doubts about Schweitzer’s candidacy. Multiple sources close to Schweitzer pointed to Tester and his chief of staff directly as the source of that doubt — something that Tester’s staff denies.
The source said Tester was “sticking knives” in Schweitzer’s potential run. In the days before Schweitzer decided to drop his potential bid, a number of stories emerged about Schweitzer’s ties to “dark” and “secret money” groups.
“Everybody was expecting a primary campaign with [Schweitzer] primarying Baucus. That’s been expected for a couple years. The battle lines have been drawn for long time. … But when Baucus dropped out, the assumption was that everybody would come together to hold his seat. In reality, people on the other side of that chasm realized that they’d be better off with Daines than Schweitzer.”
And, with State Auditor Monica Lindeen out, Dems may have lost their next best chance at winning the Senate or the House seat from Montana. From The Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan:
Montana Auditor Monica Lindeen (D) won’t run for the Senate in 2014, she announced Tuesday.
“After much thought, I’ve decided against running for the Senate. Montana is my home, it’s where my family is and I don’t want to leave,” Lindeen said on Twitter.
Also rumored to be a candidate is Montana Supreme Court Justice Brian Morris, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama for the federal bench. (Given the strong suggestion that he would make such a great, partisan candidate for the US Senate, maybe he would not make a fair jurist for all of the people in Montana on the federal bench?)
Another name mentioned sure seems like a nice enough guy, but does the Baucus-staffer baggage sink his chances?
From Roll Call:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is eyeing Sen. Max Baucus’ state director to run for Montana’s at-large seat.
John Lewis, a top aide to the Montana Democrat, has met with DCCC Chairman Steve Israel to discuss a campaign, according to two Democratic sources.
Democratic consultant, and Schweitzer supporter, Bob Brigham obviously wasn’t pleased:
— Bob Brigham (@BobBrigham) July 17, 2013
Speaking of the anonymous sources mentioned at the top of this post, do you notice any similarity in the quotes provided here?
To Roll Call:
Lewis’ meeting with Israel lasted “almost an hour,” according to a Montana source close to Lewis. Lewis also met with five other members of Congress, but the source declined to give names.
“For John, it will come down to whether or not this is the right fit for him and his family,” said the source.
And,to Chuck Johnson:
Barrett Kaiser, a former Baucus aide and now a political consultant in Billings who’s a close friend, accompanied him at the meetings with the DCCC.
“I can say that John is probably considering a run,” Kaiser said. “He needs to decide if it’s the right fit for him and his family.”
I guess you can decide if the Kaiser quote is the right fit for the anonymous source…
Summing it up- Sabato’sCrystal Ball report:
Republicans have not won the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Max Baucus (D) since the advent of popular Senate elections. That they are now in position to do so speaks volumes about the importance of ex-Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s (D) surprising decision to pass on the race.
Had Schweitzer run, we probably would have switched the toss-up seat to leans Democratic, but now that he isn’t, we have instead switched it to LEANS REPUBLICAN.
Dave Skinner hones in on the dark money story with Schweitzer in the latest Flathead Beacon:
We’ve all heard the flapdoodle over conservative groups being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service, while liberal groups were not. But nearly lost in the clutter was a recent national Fox Business News segment about two previously unknown federal “nonprofits” that Fox’s David Asman declared were a “political vehicle for Brian Schweitzer.”
Fox’s national coverage shamed some Montana journalists into actual work. They pretty much confirmed that then-Montana Commissioner of Political Practices David B. Gallik was simultaneously CFSA treasurer.
They also confirmed CFSA was funded mostly by a Democratic Governors’ Association donation, made four months after Governor Schweitzer became DGA chairman in December 2008.
Whether it’s Schweitzer, or Liz Cheney in Wyoming- here’s what Brian Williams had to say on NBC Nightly News:
Brian Williams: “Some politicians in the middle of the country are making waves felt in Washington on both the right and the left.”