Don't fret. You read that correctly. Max Baucus is retiring from the US Senate, and the seat was Brian Schweitzer's to take. He declined. If all of this is a mystery to you, then please don't read this, and get the hell out of that cave you've been living in.
Many have been supposing, theorizing, stategerizing, crowing, lamenting, accusing and wondering who ever might Montana send to the US Senate to replace Max. Cowgirl and her commenters have opinions. James Conner has opinions. The good folk at Intelligent Discontent have opinions. And, of course, Liz and the gang have opinions that generally involve telling everyone else how they are WRONG, and being mean! Whatever. These are my opinions. Despite the strong urge of others, they do not represent a party worship, current polling trends, or anything other than an informed view of Montana, its history and it's politics.
The Republicants: Racicot will not run. He will never live down the shroud of destruction draped over his role in the death of Montana Power. He is still popular in Montana, and polls well. Yeah, that is until he is confronted with the obvious skeleton in his closet. I've met the guy a couple of times, and he is most obviously not stupid. Montana Power would kill him, and I think (hope) he's smart enough to know it. Like Freddy Thomas, he may hold to the hope that Montanans will have forgotten his betrayal, but in the age of dark money they won't forget for long. Steve Daines, on the other hand, is a powerful candidate. Those who liken him to Dennis Rehburg are ignoring that Daines is likable, not a complete idiot, safely pure and doesn't have a porn-'stache. Daines hasn't voted any way that Rehberg wouldn't have, but unless someone can righteously hammer him on the farm bill, he really hasn't done much to hurt himself. He currently has the inside track. I won't say much about Edmunds other that he is a hideous human with a hideous soul. Stapleton is probably the most acceptable of the Republicants. But he has to convince the libertarian voters and garner big money donors. I'm not convinced he can do that. Bob Brown? We'll see.
Republicant Women: don't make me laugh. This is the party of old white men.
Democratic Women: Monica Lindeen has already bowed out. I think that's justified. She had little to no chance of victory. Maybe another round for the House when Daines steps up? Denise Juneau is an unbelievably attractive pick. She is strong willed, decisive, morally centered as evidenced by her votes against coal mining. But there is a huge chasm between Secretary of Public Instruction and US Senator. I would like to see her become Governor. I just think the gulf she has to bridge at this time is far too large. Franke Wilmer? Oh yes. She definitely stands a chance, especially if running against Racicot. Against Daines? Not so much. Kim Gillan might stand a shot, but only with lots of 'dark money'. If, and I mean if, any one can convince Nancy Keenan to run, then that might be our best shot at a female Senator, and for defeating Daines.
Democratic Men: There isn't very much hope here at all. Jent, Van Valkenburg, McDonald. They've all pretty much shot themselves in the ... foot. However, there is still some hope for up-and-comers, if IF if they are willing to run. Kendall Van Dyke? Jim Peterson? The hope here is slim, even though the future of progressive values in Montana lays with Montana men standing up for women and minorities and unions. Jon Tester was a dark horse in 2006. Maybe someone can rise these next two years as well.
I don't maintain hope that Montana will hold this Senate seat for Democrats. But a lot can happen in a year.