Steve Daines

Eliza Wiley

Candidates in Montana's high profile U.S. House and Senate races are gearing up their campaigns, as the primary is just six weeks away. Those who've raised the most money have new ads on TV, and messages they hope will resonate with voters.

In this edition of "Campaign Beat", our weekly political analysis program, News Director Sally Mauk talks with Lee newspapers' Capitol reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, about who's leading the money race in the House and Senate campaigns - and who's got the TV ads generating the most buzz.

Dirk Adams for Senate campaign

Born in Nebraska, educated at Harvard, with stints as a New York trial attorney, California banker and now Montana rancher - Dirk Adams of Wilsall wants to be Montana's next U.S. Senator. The political newcomer Adams is running against former lieutenant governor John Bohlinger and recently-appointed Senator John Walsh in the June democratic primary.

In this feature interview, Adams talks with News Director Sally Mauk about his background, why he's running, and his stance on the issues.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let individuals give to as many political candidates and campaigns as they want.

The 5-4 vote Wednesday, led by the court’s conservative majority, frees up wealthy contributors to give more campaign donations ahead of the 2014 election.

It will have an immediate impact on Montana races for federal office, such as the US Senate and House of Representatives.

But, the state Commissioner of Political Practices says statewide elections will not be affected that much.

Montana’s newest United States Senator, John Walsh, is starting his second month in office.

The former Lieutenant Governor and head of the Montana National Guard was appointed by Governor Steve Bullock to fill the seat vacated by long-time Senator Max Baucus. Baucus is now the U.S. Ambassador to China. 

Walsh was already running for the Senate Seat when appointed. Bullock’s move to appoint him has been seen as an attempt to give Walsh a political edge in this November’s election against likely Republican challenger, Congressman Steve Daines.

Dan Boyce

Montana Congressman Steve Daines announced plans Thursday to introduce a bill repealing portions of the 2005 REAL ID Act related to federally-mandated security protocols for driver’s licenses and other state-issued ID cards.

“In recent months, Montanans have become increasingly concerned about the federal government’s access to Montana’s personal information,” Daines said during a press conference in the state capitol building’s old Supreme Court chambers.

Walsh appointed as Montana's next U.S. Senator

Feb 7, 2014
Dan Boyce

Just one day after Montana’s Senior Senator, Max Baucus, was confirmed as the next U.S. Ambassador to China, Governor Steve Bullock has appointed his Lieutenant Governor, John Walsh, to serve the remainder of Baucus’s term. The move keeps the post in Democratic hands and may bolster the party’s hopes of keeping the seat in November.

MTPR News in Washington D.C.-- in pictures

Feb 3, 2014
Dan Boyce

MTPR News Director Sally Mauk and Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce spent much of last week in Washington D.C. covering Sen. Max Baucus's confirmation hearing to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. Sally and Dan spoke with all three members of the state's congressional delegation about the Baucus legacy.

Click on the links below to hear the rest of our coverage.

Dan Boyce

Life for Bozeman-native Steve Daines has changed a lot in the last couple of years--from more than a quarter century in the private sector to Montana’s sole Congressional Seat.

Now, the Republican Representative has his sights set on another office, that of exiting Montana Senator Max Baucus.

Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce spent last week in Washington D.C. reporting on Montana’s federal delegation and spends a couple hours in the Washington life of Congressman Daines.

N. Fork Flathead River
Katrin Frye

A major element for protection of the North Fork Flathead River Valley moved forward this week. Representative Steve Daines announced a bill that retires many oil and gas leases in the area unanimously passed the House Natural Resources Committee. The North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2013 would restrict new mineral development in the North Fork of the Flathead.

This House bill mirrors one introduced by Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus.

Daines gets an earful from Obamacare skeptics

Jan 6, 2014
Dan Boyce

Montana Congressman Steve Daines held a roundtable discussion Monday to discuss negative impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“My objective here today is to learn and listen,” Daines told the group gathered at the Montana Chamber of Commerce Building in Helena.

Daines heard from small business owners who complained of higher insurance rates stemming from mandated changes to policies. Another woman said her planned kidney transplant was put on hold as she navigated from her old insurance plan to a new one as a result of the law.

Dan Boyce

The already-crowded field of candidates vying for Montana’s U.S. House seat continues to grow.

Current Republican Representative Steve Daines announced earlier this month he will be running for the Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Senator Max Baucus in 2014.

Helena Real Estate Investor Drew Turiano says he’s running for the House seat as a Republican. It’s his second time running for office in Montana after coming in last in a four-way Republican Primary for Secretary of State in 2012. He hopes that loss has helped with name recognition for this race.

Dan Boyce

Former Republican Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger said Thursday he would be the Democratic candidate most able to defeat Congressman Steve Daines in the 2014 Senate Race.

The 77 year-old Bohlinger announced his Senate bid during a Tuesday dinner party held by the Lewis and Clark County Democratic Central Committee, but it was largely overshadowed by Daines announcing his Senate ambitions during a high-profile gathering in Bozeman on Wednesday.

Daines officially announces Senate bid

Nov 6, 2013
Dan Boyce

Congressman Steve Daines officially announced his intentions Wednesday to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Max Baucus in 2014.

"Montanans fundamentally understand that our federal government is too big, it is too powerful, it spends too much and it interferes too often with our daily lives," Daines told the crowd of a couple hundred supporters at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman.

File Photo

  The end of the federal government shutdown this week exposes a growing rift in the Republican Party—a rift between moderates and Tea Party Republicans.

Passage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act boosted the Tea Party movement three years ago and the momentum put the GOP back in charge of the House of Representatives. Republicans have since tried multiple tactics to delay or defund Obamacare—culminating in the government shutdown early this month.

Congressman Steve Daines was one of eighty-seven House Republicans to vote for legislation ending the partial federal government shutdown and raising the country’s debt ceiling.

Many more Republicans voted against ending the shutdown—one hundred forty four of them.

Daines previously voted for measures to defund the Affordable Care Act, which eventually prompted Washington’s most recent gridlock.

He defends republican actions through the standoff—saying it was a result of Democrats refusing to negotiate.

Dan Boyce

The only Democrat so far to file for Montana's U.S. House seat in 2014 officially announced his campaign Monday. John Lewis, former State Director for Sen. Max Baucus, held the kick-off event for his campaign from a Helena union hall about two months after submitting paperwork for the bid.   

Lewis opened the kick-off by unveiling this campaign video:

  Montana employees of the US Department of Agriculture make up the largest piece of the state’s federal workforce.

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry Economist Barb Wagner said latest figures show about 12,600 federal employees work in Montana, not including military personnel—which she says her office does not track. Of that civilian workforce, about 3,000 work for the USDA.

File Photo

Montana’s Congressman Steve Daines is touting a bill he is cosponsoring which would increase logging on national forest lands.

The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act passed the U.S. House last Friday.

Supporters say the bill would boost local economies near forest land and help lower the risk of catastrophic wildfires like those seen near Yosemite National Park this summer.

But, the bill faces some stiff opposition, including from the Obama Administration.

A bill to cut the federal food stamp program, now called SNAP, by $4 billion annually for the next decade is heading over to the U.S. Senate.

The Republican-led U.S. House passed the SNAP cuts last week, over opposition from Democrats.

The proposed cuts could seriously impact local food banks in Montana. Executive Director of the Great Falls Community Food Bank David Abbott said currently about 10,000 people in Cascade County do not know where their next meal is coming from.

File Photo

US Congressman Steve Daines said this week it makes sense to include his seven-day trip to Israel as a part of his ‘Montana Jobs Tour.’

“As Montana looks to the future, we’re gonna be highly dependent to grow our economy based on exports,” Daines said.

He visited several Montana towns last week as part of the tour, including Bozeman, Butte, and Billings.

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