Steve Daines

Eric Whitney

Our national election coverage will begin at 6:00 p.m. with NPR’s election night special coverage.

Coverage of local races starts at 8:00 p.m., and we’ll have local reports and analysis every thirty minutes until at least 10:00 p.m.

We’ll have reporters in Helena and Bozeman. Here in Missoula, Edward O’Brien will host our coverage. Joining him in the studio will be our Senior News Analyst Sally Mauk.

"Campaign Beat" recaps the recent House and Senate debates, looks at another outside funded ad in a Montana Supreme Court race, and talks about the mailer that's spawned outrage among many Montanans.

"Campaign Beat," our weekly political analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the fall election season. Former MTPR news director and now senior news analyst, Sally Mauk, hosts the program. She's  joined by Lee newspapers Capitol reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.
 

Courtesy photo

Tonight we have the fourth in a series of in-depth interviews with the four major party candidates for Montana’s U.S. House and Senate seats.

In this extended interview, we hear from Republican Steve Daines, who’s running for Montana’s seat in the U.S. Senate. He spoke with Montana Public Radio News Director Eric Whitney.

Listen to the extended version below. Due to technical problems, the extended interview did not go the full 30 minutes like the interviews with other candidates.

Republican Congressman Steve Daines didn't respond to Democrat Amanda Curtis's jabs during last night’s U.S. Senate debate in Billings.

Curtis said several times that Daines is too extreme for Montana and represents corporate interests over average Montanans. She says it's time to send a working-class Montanan to represent the state in Washington D.C.

Curtis also said Daines' vote last year to shut down the federal government during a budget stalemate hurt Montanans.

Listen To The Oct. 20 U.S. Senate Debate

Oct 19, 2014

U.S. Senate candidates Amanda Curtis and Steve Daines met to debate in Billings on Monday, Oct. 20. 

Video of the Senate debate is available on the MontanaPBS website.

The debate is followed by analysis and fact checking with former Montana Secretary of State Bob Brown, MontanaPBS analyst Gary Stein and MSU Political Science Professor David Parker.

"Campaign Beat" looks at recent campaign finance reports, dueling gun ads in the U.S. House race, the first TV ad from the Curtis campaign, and LR-126, the initiative seeking to repeal election day voter registration.

"Campaign Beat," our weekly political analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the fall election season. Sally Mauk, former MTPR news director and now senior news analyst, hosts the program. She's  joined by Lee newspapers Capitol Reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.
 

LR-126 ad from Montanans for Free and Fair Elections:

New Poll: Republicans Lead Montana House, Senate Races

Oct 17, 2014
Eric Whitney

The latest statewide poll shows Republicans are leading in Montana’s races for the US House and Senate, but a large number of respondents remain undecided.

In the race for the open US House seat, Republican Ryan Zinke is leading Democrat John Lewis by a 40 percent to 33 percent margin.

Yellowstone Public Radio spoke to Montana State University Billings Political Science Professor Craig Wilson.

"I think the House race is probably, in relative terms, a bit closer than a lot of people thought," said Wilson.

MSU-B Poll Shows Daines Pulling Away, Zinke With Slight Lead

Oct 17, 2014
Kaci Felstet

The top races in Montana look like they’re going red according to the state’s only public opinion poll released Friday, with the U.S. House race much closer than the Senate.

The poll of 410 Montanans gave Republican Ryan Zinke a 7-point lead in the race for the state’s sole U.S. House seat. Zinke garnered the support of 39.8 percent of all respondents support while his Democratic opponent, former aide to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus John Lewis, scored 32.9 percent.

Both Montana U.S. Senate candidates released brand new campaign ads today.

But with less than three weeks to go before election day, and absentee ballots already in the mail, this morning’s ad from Democratic candidate Amanda Curtis is only her first since announcing her candidacy back on August 16th.

This election year, Montana's state legislative races look to be the most intriguing. State lawmakers are, "the ones that will actually effect what happens in Montana in terms of policy, as far as who controls the  legislature in 2015," says Lee newspapers Capitol Reporter Mike Dennison.

Jackie Yamanaka

Democratic US Senate Candidate Amanda Curtis says the contrast between her and her Republican opponent couldn’t be more clear than when it comes to issues on women.

Curtis held a noon time rally on the lawn outside the Yellowstone County Courthouse Wednesday.

Curtis often talks about her working class, blue collar roots, and contrasts that against her wealthy Republican opponent.

The high school math teacher from Butte says the differences couldn’t be more stark when it comes to women’s issues.

On Cusp of Historic GOP Win, Daines Seeks To Moderate His Positions

Oct 9, 2014
File Photo

Watch Steve Daines’ television ads this fall and you will see a candidate still introducing himself to Montana – bobber fishing with one daughter, his wife describing how they met in church, his daughters hailing his legislative accomplishments.

That’s because two years ago he was a little-known Bozeman businessman running for the U.S. House whose only political experience was a failed lieutenant governor run in 2008.

Now, the first-term congressman is set to end a century-long Democratic lock on one of Montana’s U.S. Senate seats.

Andrew Bixler

On a street near the University of Montana campus in Missoula, a homemade sign faces the road.

“Amanda Curtis for U.S. Senate” the wooden sign reads, its colorful ink stark against a white background. The sign was made by Michael Kirby, 53, in his garage.

“I like what she has to say,” he said. “She’s not establishment."

Meg O'Leary

Governor Steve Bullock’s eight day trade mission to China has concluded and participants say Montana still has a lot to learn about conducting business there.

Montana exported over $100 million worth of goods to China last year, but state officials say we can do more.

This week on "Campaign Beat:" Is the media counting Curtis out too soon? The analysts look at the "good guy" ad by Steve Daines. Ryan Zinke continues to tout his military experience, and John Lewis gets more aggressive in the House race. Sally, Chuck, and Mike wonder if voters have tuned in for this off-year election yet.

"Campaign Beat", our weekly political analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the fall election season.

U.S. Forest Service issued a press release late Thursday to clarify the intent behind the proposed directive for commercial photography and filmmaking in Congressionally designated wilderness areas.

The Forest Service describes it as a good faith effort to ensure wilderness areas are protected.

Critics say it essentially gives the agency story-approval power.

Montana’s entire congressional delegation today called for the rule to be clarified and re-drafted.

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed  requiring permits for still photography and commercial filming in designated wilderness areas, making permanent an interim rule in place since 2010.

According to The Oregonian, permits would cost up to $1,500, with a $1,000 fine for failure to get a permit.

Montana's entire congressional delegation has written to the Forest Service expressing concerns with the proposal.

Tester, Daines Call For Budget Vote

Sep 15, 2014

Montana Senator Jon Tester is urging his Congressional colleagues to act this week to prevent a federal government shutdown at the end of the month.

The current budget ends September 30th, the end of the fiscal year. Tester told reporters during a conference call yesterday the American people don’t want another event like last fall when the National Parks, federal programs and services closed.

Montana's candidates for federal office are weighing in on President Obama's intent to unleash military strikes on the so-called "Islamic State" extremist organizations.

Obama last week announced his counter-terrorism campaign to use intel, training and airstrikes to weaken and destroy Islamic radical groups know by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.

Eliza Wiley

"Campaign Beat" returns to dissect the latest campaign ads and examine the issues in the U.S. House and Senate races.

Today Sally, Chuck and Mike discuss the competitiveness of the U.S. House and Senate races, the effectiveness of the latest TV ads from the Daines and Lewis campaigns, and whether voters mind the scarcity of debates in the top races. 

The "Timber" ad from the Daines campaign:

This Week In Montana Politics

Sep 5, 2014

PSC Vote, Common Core, Daines & RightNow Technologies, Curtis presents a jobs plan.

Candidate Debates: Here's What We Know

Aug 29, 2014

Will the Montana House and Senate candidates debate? Here's what we know.

Josh Burnham

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis was in Missoula yesterday presenting a six-point-plan that she says would help Montanans struggling with student debt.

After her prepared remarks, Curtis spoke with Edward O'Brien about a few topics including conservative criticism of her family's association with an organization some say has radical leanings.
First though, Curtis offers her assessment of the campaign-building effort:

This Week In Montana Politics

Aug 22, 2014

U.S. Senate Race

Saturday, Montana Democrats nominated Amanda Curtis to replace John Walsh in the U.S. Senate race.

Following the nomination, the question on many people's minds was 'who is Amanda Curtis?' Curtis, a 34 year-old Math teacher and one-term state representative from Butte, was not widely known before winning the Senate nomination.

How Plagiarism Sank A U.S. Senate Campaign

Aug 8, 2014

This week in Montana politics, a recap of events leading to Sen. Walsh's decision to drop of out of the U.S. Senate race.

Democratic Senator John Walsh has decided to drop out of the U.S. Senate race. In a public statement released today, Walsh said:

The 2007 research paper from my time at the U.S. Army War College has become a distraction from the debate you expect and deserve. I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. Senator. You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will.

Energy, Agriculture, And Suing The President

Aug 1, 2014

This week in Montana politics: Walsh tries to weather the plagiarism storm, Zinke presents his energy plan, Lewis promotes his "Farm and Ranch Jobs Platform", Daines votes to sue the President.

Walsh Plagiarism

Plagiarism, Citizen Initiatives, REAL ID And Logging

Jul 25, 2014

This Week in Montana politics.

Rob Saldin

The Walsh campaign began yesterday by touting a new poll showing Walsh gaining ground against his Republican opponent, Steve Daines in the U.S. Senate race. By the afternoon, Walsh was facing serious allegations of plagiarism that University of Montana Associate Professor of Political Science Rob Saldin says "totally undermines his credibility."

Professor Saldin, has been following the Walsh plagiarism story and visited with Edward O'Brien today about the latest developments.

 

Sen. Walsh Accused Of Plagiarizing Master's Thesis

Jul 23, 2014

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Montana Sen. John Walsh "appropriated at least a quarter" of his 2007 master's thesis for the U.S. Army War College "from other authors' works, with no attribution."

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