The Montana media and liberal blogosphere is making a big deal out of Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-MT) appointment to chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), as if it is somehow his political prowess that got him appointed to the position.
Now, certainly his role as chair of the DSCC raising money for 2016 Democratic Senate candidates will help Sen. Tester wield some additional influence.
However; here’s what stands out in the coverage from the liberal Huffington Post that seems to be getting ignored by the Montana media: Tester got the job because no one else wanted it.
But the next DSCC chair is also looking at an enviable political map in two years. Only 10 Senate Democrats are up for re-election in 2016, the residual benefit of the shellacking they took in 2010 when tea party Republicans swept into office. Republicans, meanwhile, will have 24 seats to defend, including five in states that President Barack Obama won twice.
Lawyers and law firms have been Tester’s biggest donors, giving $1.39 million from 2007 through 2012. After them have come retired professionals ($850,000) and the securities and investment industry ($646,000), according to campaign finance records.
Perhaps one of the reasons Tester ended up with the DSCC job is that few others actually wanted it. According to several Democratic sources, Tester went to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and said he was interested in the gig after other lawmakers took their names out of consideration.
The other challenge for Tester? 2016 is supposed to be an easy map for Senate Democrats. If the DSCC does well, it’s expected. If they don’t….oh buddy…
Either way, Sen. Tester is now the Democrat’s top recruiter.
— Aaron Flint (@aaronflint) November 13, 2014
The other interesting angle that some in the Montana media have been taking is the argument that Tester is a “moderate.” Even The Washington Post knows that is not the case:
Reid appointed Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), a second-term senator close to many of the caucus’s agitated members from then upper Midwest and Plains States, as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
While not a moderate himself, Tester’s 2012 reelection victory is viewed as a model for other Democrats who come from conservative terrain.
Aside from Tester becoming distracted with the DSCC job, a liberal blogger from the Flathead Valley of Montana has this at The Flathead Memo: Tester unlikely to win in 2018 with 2010 or 2014 turnout
Jon Tester rode a throw the bums out wave to a plurality victory in the 2006 midterm election. The voting eligible turnout was 57.1 percent. He was re-elected in the Presidential election of 2012, again with a plurality. The voting eligible turnout was 62.9 percent. Can he win a third term in the midterm election of 2018? At this point, that seems doubtful.
Tester most likely will have none of those advantages in 2018:
1.Assuming he’s re-elected in 2016, Ryan Zinke, a much stronger candidate than Democrats like to admit, would be Tester’s most probable opponent. And with four statewide campaigns behind him, Zinke would have more statewide campaigning experience than Tester.