Steve Daines

Flickr user Bitterroot (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Montana's Senators and Senator-elect today announced what they're calling a “landmark” package of public lands legislation. It's being tacked on to a Defense authorization bill that the House and Senate are expected to vote on this week and next.

Flickr user SBebee

BREAKING NEWS: We're following up on this story and will have more on the air starting at 5 p.m. Below is the press release announcing the legislation issued this morning.

In a joint press conference today, Senators Jon Tester, John Walsh and Senator-elect Steve Daines announced a landmark legislative package that includes eight Montana-based lands and resources bills.

Political science professor David Parker, at Montana State University has a new book out. It’s called Battle for the Big Sky. In it, he says, “Much of the existing scholarship suggests that campaigns don’t matter much at all.”

Interviewed at his office recently, Parker acknowledged, “It does seem kind of weird, right? You look at the cost of presidential campaigns, and, wait a minute, political scientists say they don’t matter. They basically take the view of MacBeth, right? It’s all ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Montanans who buy their own health insurance, or who want to, can start buying policies for next year starting on Saturday. It’s the beginning of the Affordable Care Act’s second so-called “open enrollment” period.

The process will be similar to last year, but significantly different, says Adam Schafer, at the Montana insurance commissioner’s office.

"Folks should not experience the same problems that came up last year," he says.

Eliza Wiley

Do Montana Democrats have a messaging problem? Will post-election talk of bi-partisanship translate into action? Sally, Chuck and Mike talk about these things and more on the final election season episode of "Campaign Beat."

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.

U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis remained upbeat in defeat tonight. She thanked her supporters and said "I'm incredibly proud of the work we've done over the last 80 days."

Curtis spoke with MTPR News Director Eric Whitney late Tuesday night.

Eric Whitney

Steve Daines was declared the winner of Montana's U.S. Senate race just minutes after the polls closed.

MTPR News Director Eric Whitney spoke with Daines at his victory celebration in Bozeman tonight.

Daines talked about some of the things he hopes to achieve in the Senate.

Steve Daines Scores Historic Win In U.S. Senate Race

Nov 4, 2014

In a historic GOP win Tuesday evening, first-term U.S. Congressman Steve Daines scored a decisive victory over Democratic opponent Amanda Curtis to for one of Montana’s Senate seats.

The Associated Press called the race just after the polls closed.

In the wake of his win, he told MTPR that he would focus on "moving legislation."

"We need to look at what is possible to pass through the Congress and that can be implemented," he said Tuesday night. " We need to make sure we're not just passing symbolic votes."

General Election Results 2014

Nov 4, 2014

Election results for 2014 Montana and national races.

Eric Whitney

MTPR News Director Eric Whitney is covering the Steve Daines election night watch party at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bozeman tonight.

Earlier today he spoke briefly with the Republican Congressman at a press conference, after Daines and his wife Cindy voted at the county election office on Main street. 

"It's bringing back a lot of memories today," Daines said, pointing to the building across the street. "That's where I went to fifth and sixth grade right there, back when it used to be Wilson Middle School."

Homegrown Candidates Tout Their Roots; Do Voters Care?

Nov 4, 2014

 Native-born Montanans have a deep sense of pride. But if you’re one of the 54 percent of Montana residents born elsewhere, you might wonder why that seems to be such a big deal in the state’s election campaigns.

Montana candidates are eager to show voters that they and their families have deep roots in the Big Sky Country. Most TV ads feature the candidate telling viewers how long his or her family has been here.

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
Rep. Ryan Zinke. File photo.
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.

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