|Before Democrat Max Baucus, Montana's senior senator, decided against running for a seventh term in 2014, the Montana senate race could be classified as "Lean DEM" or maybe "Likely DEM." Baucus was no
shoo-in, but he clearly would have been favored to win re-election. After his decision, the race immediately fell into the "Toss-up" category by most accounts.
Recently, however, two other decisions - one made, the other pending - have altered the landscape of this contest enough for Stuart Rothenberg to shift it to "Tilt GOP." The first decision came from
former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Back in July, he declined the opportunity to succeed Baucus. As the only readily-identifiable first tier Democrat, Schweitzer represented Democrats' best
chance to retain the seat.
The second decision, while not yet final, appears on its way in the form of a Republican Steve Daines' senate candidacy. Currently the at-large U.S Representative from Montana, Daines has statewide
appeal and does not have, as Rothenberg consultant Nathan Gonzales writes, "the warts of former Rep. Denny Rehberg or
former Sen. Conrad Burns."
All that said, Montana should still be a very competitive race in 2014, and these latest developments in no way signal a sure GOP takeover. However, the trend does have a red hue.
2014 Senate Elections
2014 Montana Senate Election
posted by Scott Elliott at 10:40pm 08/13/13::