Schweitzer to Dems: No thanks on Senate race

posted at 4:01 pm on July 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

This could be a very big deal in the 2014 election — perhaps big enough to give Harry Reid second thoughts about his upcoming nuclear option in the Senate.  With another tough midterm election approaching, Democrats already face tough challenges to incumbents in red states.  They thought they could hold the Montana seat vacated by Max Baucus’ retirement by having popular governor Brian Schweitzer contend for it, but Schweitzer surprised Democrats by bailing on the bid:

Former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Saturday he won’t run for the Senate in Montana — a surprise development that imperils Democrats’ chances of holding the seat in 2014.

He told the Associated Press that he wants to stay in Montana rather than move to Washington, D.C. But his potential candidacy was also raising red flags within the party: After weeks of courting the 57-year-old Schweitzer, Democratic leaders reversed course. Scrutinizing Schweitzer’s past, they concluded there was too much ammunition for Republicans to use against him in the campaign to replace the retiring veteran Democrat Max Baucus, according to a source familiar with the thinking of those leaders. …

Schweitzer had been hit with a series of damaging stories about his ties to “secret money” and a nonprofit group run by former aides. But sources said the laundry list of opposition research went much deeper — and could have crippled a Schweitzer campaign for Senate.

Political prognosticator Larry Sabato believes this takes the GOP halfway to wresting control of the Senate away from Democrats:

It doesn’t help Reid and Barack Obama to lose Schweitzer.  Schweitzer may have struggled to beat a Republican in this cycle too, but in Montana he represented the best bet for a clear Democratic advantage, even with the baggage.  Now they’ll have to draft someone with a lower presence and name recognition, in a state that went for Mitt Romney by thirteen points last November.  Without Barack Obama on the top of the ticket and with ObamaCare collapsing, any Democrat will have two strikes against him or her from the starting block.

This makes losing the majority in November 2014 much more likely.  Will that get Harry Reid to take his finger off the nuclear button next week?  If not, it might peel off a few Democrats who will have to live in the minority starting in January 2015 and rob Reid of his chance to wipe out the filibuster anyway.

Update: As for the fiction that Democrats had changed their mind about Schweitzer before he bailed, Chris Cillizza disposes of that forthwith:

Exactly.

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Just remember friends the GOP will betray you, so it’s best to not vote or support ANYONE, who’s not from some obscure third party, or some complete unknown who may well implode…because remember here on Hot Air, we advance by retreating; We Triumph by Losing; Conservatism is Made Stronger by Harry Reid.

JFKY on July 13, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Considering how the GOP is continually shooting itself in the foot with conservatives along with dreadful candidates I wouldn’t count the democrats out just yet. The GOP has a tendency to run the Todd Aiken’s of the world so they can lose winnable elections. Let’s see what happens in the House with immigration.

alanstern on July 13, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Well, with NSA doing what it apparently does best, there may be some fine blackmail material available.

a capella on July 13, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Don’t worry – the usual mix of Akins and Thompsons will end up increasing Dingy Harry’s majority coming out of 2014.

Steve Eggleston on July 13, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Just as well. It would be only a matter of time before Gov. Schweitzer was exposed as having posed with a FAKE ‘Times Square Naked Cowboy™’. I mean really, doesn’t the Senate have enough critters that hang around with phonies???

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on July 13, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Tester only got about 48% last year getting reelected. There was a Libertarian spoiler in the race. Does this happen again?

Mark1971 on July 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Adios, majority?

1. Assumes the Rs are smart, big assumption.

2. If the House passes the illegal immigration bill Pelosi takes the hammer in 2015. That’s a fact, Jack!

Schadenfreude on July 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Don’t worry, the GOP will find a way to screw this up.

reddevil on July 13, 2013 at 4:20 PM

perhaps big enough to give Harry Reid second thoughts about his upcoming nuclear option in the Senate.

May he go to a creche, soon, with McCain. May Ms. Lindsey and Rubio be assigned to wipe their butts.

Schadenfreude on July 13, 2013 at 4:20 PM

LOLOLOLOLOL

Adding to Sabato, I’d say AR is a lock as soon as Cotton makes things official. He’s really a rising star and Pryor is being exposed as an empty suit.

So add in SD and WV for 3. MT isn’t yet a lock but probably close.

So that leaves 2 of LA, AK, NC, IA, MI, MN, NH. I’d like to think that we couldn’t screw up at least two of the first three in that list. We have a good candidate in LA and Landrieu isn’t even trying to pretend she’s a moderate anymore, so I think her time is running out.

We have a solid candidate in AK with or without Palin.

NC isn’t as good as it could be or as bad as it could be either. Tillis is passable, as is Jim Cain. Just need to get money to one of the two. If so, Hagan seems stuck in the mid-high 40s and is vulnerable.

Always have to worry about Akin-like stupidity, particularly with a hostile media, but we’ve done a good job of dodging nasty primaries early on here. Even Liz Cheney’s unnecessary potential endeavor is in a state where the Dems can’t damage us for it. That’s a step up from 2012 and even 2010.

Gingotts on July 13, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Mark1971 on July 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Easily, I think. There’s way too much confidence on the R side about Montana.

Out of 9 elected offices that require statewide elections (state+federal), 7 are held by Democrats and 2 by Republicans.

Tester’s victory over Rehberg last year given Romney’s dominating win shows that MT is not reflexively Republican. It’s a borderline “purple” state.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s very little reason for assuming that this seat goes to the Republicans.

Robert_Paulson on July 13, 2013 at 4:26 PM

I predict Denise Juneau will be the Democratic nominee.

(Separate, unrelated thought.) This won’t be an easy race for the Rs, no matter the nominees.

acasilaco on July 13, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Landrieu MUST GO!!!

Schadenfreude on July 13, 2013 at 4:31 PM

If the repubs were to win have no fear McCain would switch parties because he loves to reach across the aisle.

tim c on July 13, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Even Liz Cheney’s unnecessary potential endeavor is in a state where the Dems can’t damage us for it. That’s a step up from 2012 and even 2010.

Gingotts on July 13, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Yeah, I wish she’d think that through a little more. I’m a big fan, but,……

a capella on July 13, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Adios, majority?

Well we gotta work at it…get more conservatives elected.

For inspiration folks…

Inside story: Photographs from U.S. Department of the Interior’s Instagram account reveal the stunningly diverse landscapes of the United States

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362566/Inside-story-Photographs-U-S-Department-Interiors-Instagram-account-reveal-stunningly-diverse-landscapes-United-States.html#ixzz2YxdYeoZh
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

comment thread at the article is a hoot.

workingclass artist on July 13, 2013 at 4:50 PM

…f the repubs were to win have no fear McCain would switch parties because he loves to reach across the aisle.

tim c on July 13, 2013 at 4:32 PM

He won’t leave without his trusty toilet paper bearer, little Lindsey Graham.

Don L on July 13, 2013 at 5:12 PM

“Now they’ll have to draft someone with a lower presence and name recognition, in a state that went for Mitt Romney by thirteen points last November. Without Barack Obama on the top of the ticket and with ObamaCare collapsing, any Democrat will have two strikes against him or her from the starting block.”

Let me see if I have this right, Ed. Montana went for Romney by 13 points in 2012 but not having Obama on the top of the ticket is a strike against the Democrats?

Is this what you call “counter intuitive”?

ncjetsfan on July 13, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Good news for the party, but Republicans have a lot of ground to make up for in the Senate races.

An interesting trend is that Democratic incumbents rarely lose Senate bids. Since 2004, Tom Daschle, Blanche Lincoln and Russ Feingold were the only Democrats to run for reelection and lose their seat, In the same time, Republicans Rick Santorum, Jim Talent, Conrad Burns, Mike Dewine, Lincoln Chafee, George Allen, Norm Coleman, John Sununu, Gordon Smith and Scott Brown were defeated in the General Election. Richard Lugar also lost a primary to a man who lost the General Election.

And there’s another difference between the parties. There have been five elections in the last two cycles which primary voters selected atrocious candidates who lost in places Republicans were favored.(Delaware in 2010, Colorado in 2010, Nevada in 2010, Indiana in 2012, Missouri in 2012.) In the same time, there’s only been one election which Democrats lost due to a poor candidate. Dean Heller of Nevada would likely not have won reelection by 1.2% against someone who wasn’t investigated for ethics violations.

I’m concerned that Tea Party supporters will nominate the worst possible candidate for this seat.

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/31/montana-rep-alan-hale-says-dui-laws-are-destroying-a-way-of-li/

Mister Mets on July 13, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Political prognosticator Larry Sabato believes this takes the GOP halfway to wresting control of the Senate away from Democrats

…just make sure Rove isn’t involved!…or it’s half-way down the toilet again!

KOOLAID2 on July 13, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Tester only got about 48% last year getting reelected. There was a Libertarian spoiler in the race. Does this happen again?

Mark1971 on July 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Obviously, the Libertarians need to call on the Republicans not to run a candidate, which can only split the Libertarian vote and hand the election to the Democrats.

PersonFromPorlock on July 13, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Let me see if I have this right, Ed. Montana went for Romney by 13 points in 2012 but not having Obama on the top of the ticket is a strike against the Democrats?

Is this what you call “counter intuitive”?

ncjetsfan on July 13, 2013 at 5:27 PM

It makes sense. Those who showed up in 2012 but won’t in 2014 are more likely to have voted for Obama and D down the line. That is, Obama lost by 13 points in the 2012 Montana electorate. Convert that to the likely 2014 Montana electorate and Obama might have lost by 18.

Just because he didn’t win doesn’t mean he didn’t boost Democrat votes down the line. The extra 20k or so Dem. voters didn’t help in his own race, but to Jon Tester, who won by 18k votes, it made a difference.

Gingotts on July 13, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Will that get Harry Reid to take his finger off the nuclear button next week?

Harry Reid isn’t that smart.

GarandFan on July 13, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Senator Reid better reevaluate using the nuclear option. If theres even an outside of the pubs taking over in the Senate, he’d better back off.

tommy71 on July 13, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Lets see, McConnell, Graham, McCain, Rubio, Ayotte, Hatch, need I go on? How are we better off with these knuckleheads than dems?

chicken thief on July 13, 2013 at 6:35 PM

If the repubs were to win have no fear McCain would switch parties because he loves to reach across the aisle. reach arounds.

tim c on July 13, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Wolfen on July 13, 2013 at 6:45 PM

It’s all a big poker game and the conservative base is the Joker. Sadly, ‘conservative’ sites like Hot Air are dealing the cards for the establishment. Throw the base some empty rhetoric to keep them in the game then stab them in the back at the last minute, daring them to stay home and give the (D) more power.
Hot Air has posted NONE of the articles extolling the electoral disaster of passing immigration. Never thought I’d see the day NRO was more conservative than a site MM started. No wonder she washed her hands of it. Free Republic is about the only truly conservative site left. MM and Twitchy also.
Big Biz and the Bush contingent are (capitol d) Desperate to open the floodgates to Mexico and Hot Air doesn’t want to burn any cigar chomping bridges. The joke will be on them, however, because the base WILL sit and the purge will be deep and wide. In the end, we win either way.

AmeriCuda on July 13, 2013 at 6:48 PM

@AmeriCuda Want some cheese with that whine? And this thread isn’t about immigration. Stay on topic. Don’t imitate the progs and their love for feeeelings.

tommy71 on July 13, 2013 at 7:05 PM

What’s with the idiot with the guitar? Good grief…

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 13, 2013 at 7:12 PM

A little correction of history above. Todd Akin was not the favorite of most MO Republicans. And he was helped by a DEMOCRAT ad campaign in the primaries.

WannabeAnglican on July 13, 2013 at 7:14 PM

AmeriCuda on July 13, 2013 at 6:48 PM

See Americuda gets it, we win by losing…we advance by becoming smaller…it’s the Zen Way to advance in Politics, by failing we Succeed.

JFKY on July 13, 2013 at 7:22 PM

What’s with the idiot with the guitar? Good grief…

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 13, 2013 at 7:12 PM

That’s the Dems’ backup candidate. Tomorrow PPP will release a poll showing him leading Daines by 24 points.

Gingotts on July 13, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Lets see, McConnell, Graham, McCain, Rubio, Ayotte, Hatch, need I go on? How are we better off with these knuckleheads than dems?

chicken thief on July 13, 2013 at 6:35 PM

All of those people did, or would have voted against Obamacare. I get that there are Republicans that bend, but the idea that we’d be better off with Democrats is ludicrous. Look how great we’re doing without President Romney.

cpaulus on July 13, 2013 at 7:59 PM

The stupid Tea party and the purist conservatives will choose someone more dump than Sarah Palin and give the win to a socialist democrat.

Falz on July 13, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Mrs. Lewinsky will win the election for us.

- Bob Dole, 1998

Why is everybody treating 2014 as if its already clear that Republicans will win the Senate back? Especially since they do everything imaginable right now, to inspire conservatives to stay home?

Valkyriepundit on July 13, 2013 at 8:20 PM

If North Carolina re-elects Kay “mini Schumer” Hagan, then they deserve her.

SouthernGent on July 13, 2013 at 8:32 PM

If North Carolina re-elects Kay “mini Schumer” Hagan, then they deserve her.

SouthernGent on July 13, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Of course, it means we all get her…

Hagan is counting on vapid low-info voters to come out. Her numbers are mediocre, leading our middling contenders 47-40ish, but up to 30% of voters have little clue or opinion who she is. She’s hanging on by voting in lockstep with the crazies that lead her party but being quiet about it.

The good news there is that’s what sustained Pryor for years, but now that a credible candidate is looking at the race he’s falling apart. Not as easy as Arkansas, but the blueprint is there if the GOP can manage not to screw themselves for once. Expose her record for what it is and build up Tillis/Cain as much as possible. They aren’t sure stars like Cotton is, but their stances should hold up well vs. hers.

Gingotts on July 13, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Folks, super interesting House race developing in southern California for the John Campbell seat. Female Republican emerges, fmr. State Senator Mimi Walters. She’s like the perfect GOP candidate, attractive, well-liked, respected community member.

She keeps the Campbell seat easily.

And further south gay Republican and fmr. city councilman Carl Demaio
has a great shot of picking up Democrat-held CD 52. The incumbent is closely tied with sex harasser SD Mayor Bob Filner.

ericdondero on July 13, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Our gov may have gotten the state in a financial bind helping out his buds in the Yellowstone Club fiasco. The former owner won a lawsuit in the state SC and now has threatened to sue the state and the gov for millions. Maybe the smart money in the state has decided Brian’s not worth it.

Kissmygrits on July 14, 2013 at 9:02 AM

This is a big break, but I’m skeptical of the Republicans’ ability to take advantage of it. Last time we ran a complete crank against Baucus. The guy won the primary on name recognition because he’d run for office so many times. I did vote for him in the general, however. It would simply be wrong to vote for a Democrat.

http://newwest.net/topic/article/everyone_is_perplexed_about_kellehers_montana_win/C559/L559/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kelleher

claudius on July 14, 2013 at 12:01 PM

In 2012, there was no reason to re-elect a Democrat to the Senate, based on their performance with not even being able to pass a budget. I firmly believe, based on the amount of seats Democrats had to defend in 2012, that DOJ and IRS had more to do with their not losing the Senate then. Now that this is all out in the open (as much as it can be with Pravda and Izvestia) I doubt they can pull that off again. In a fair election, the Democrats lose.

bflat879 on July 14, 2013 at 2:13 PM

I’d be happy about this, if I still thought that a GOP majority was something to cheer about.

Chris of Rights on July 16, 2013 at 9:50 AM