Steve Daines

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.

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.

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.

Montana Sen. Walsh Drops Out Of U.S. Senate Race

Aug 7, 2014

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.


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."

Montana Politics Week In Review

Jul 18, 2014

NorthWestern Energy Dam Buyback

Montana politicians and interest groups were divided along party lines over this week's U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning the Affordable Care Act's birth control coverage mandate. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held private corporations do not have to provide birth control as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, if the corporations have religious objections to birth control.

Watch the U.S. Senate and House Debates

Jun 14, 2014

The Montana Newspaper Association and MontanaPBS joined together to sponsor the first United States Senate and United States House of Representatives candidate debates of the political season.

The debates were held in the Library Auditorium at Montana Tech in Butte on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

Primary election results for statewide offices and Missoula County races.

Last updated 10:50 a.m.  6/04/14.

U.S. Senate

677/693 precincts fully reporting. 16/693 precincts partially reporting.

John Walsh....................... 48,380
John Bohlinger................. 17,106
Dirk Adams....................... 10,028

Eliza Wiley

Last minute attacks ads - and the importance of the primary races - dominate the discussion on this last spring election season installment of "Campaign Beat", our weekly political analysis program featuring Lee newspaper reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, and News Director Sally Mauk...

Eliza Wiley

New campaign ads in the U.S. Senate race feature women telling personal stories of rape and domestic violence  - and implying their candidate is the best choice for women. Those new ads, plus reaction to the new lawsuit seeking to overturn Montana's ban on same sex marriage, are the focus of this week's "Campaign Beat", with political analysis by Lee newspapers' reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, and News Director Sally Mauk.