With former Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s weekend decision not to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Max Baucus in 2014, the list of Democratic candidates who might run is an ever-changing puzzle.
After Schweitzer’s decision, political observers quickly turned to Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau and State Auditor Monica Lindeen.
Juneau said she is considering a bid. But, as Montana Television Network State Politics Reporter Marnee Banks writes, Lindeen announced this week she will not run.
“I’ve decided I can best serve Montanans in the job I was just re-elected to do,” Lindeen said in a letter to supporters. “Montana is my home, my family is here and I don’t want to leave it.”
Other Democrats reportedly looking into the race are current Lt. Gov. John Walsh, Bozeman Representative Franke Wilmer and President of the pro-choice organization Emily’s List Stephanie Schriock.
Also, former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger said he is looking into the race. Bohlinger joined Schweitzer’s gubernatorial ticket as a Republican after serving 12 years as a Republican legislator. He said the Republican party of today is nothing like the one he joined in the early 90s. A self-described moderate, the 77 year-old Bohlinger said he would have no problem with the idea of running as a Democrat.
“Some people have said ‘John, are you sure you want to do this? Most people your age look forward to retirement,’” Bohlinger said. “I’ve got an internal alarm clock that goes off every morning at 5:30 to 6 AM. I can’t sleep much beyond that, I’m in good health, I have lots of energy, I’m ready to go to work.”
It is widely expected U.S. Congressman Steve Daines will jump into the Senate Race on the Republican side—where he would be considered the new front-runner without Gov. Schweitzer running. That may lead the other two, lesser-known, Republican Senate candidates to move over to the Congressional race. Those two are former State Sen. Corey Stapleton and State Rep. Champ Edmunds.
Names of a couple Democrats have surfaced in the House race. Charles S. Johnson of Lee Newspapers reports John Lewis, a top aide to Max Baucus, met with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington D.C. this week to discuss a bid.
Some are also calling for first-term Butte Rep. Amanda Curtis to run. Curtis won favor with Democrats this past legislative session for posting detailed re-caps of her actions and reflections to YouTube every day of the session.