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Sen. Max Baucus To Retire In 2014

According to reports Montana Senator Max Baucsus will be the latest Senator to announce his retirement from the Senate at the end of the current term:

Montana Sen. Max Baucus will not seek reelection in 2014, becoming the latest senior red-state Democrat to bail out of a potentially difficult reelection campaign, a senior Democratic official confirmed to POLITICO.

Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, had nearly $5 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter but was expected to face a tough fight in his GOP-leaning home state.

Democratic strategists say that former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a populist two-term statewide official, is leaning toward running for the open seat.

The retirement was first reported by the Washington Post.

Baucus joins colleagues Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Carl Levin of Michigan and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey in exiting the 2014 race. His Montana seat is likely to be one of the toughest on that list for Democrats to defend.

A February survey from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found that Baucus was polling in the mid-40s and trailing both GOP Rep. Steve Daines and former Gov. Marc Racicot in general election matches.Schweitzer was effectively tied with both top-tier Republicans in the same poll, leading Daines by 3 points and trailing Racicot by 1

We’ll likely get some more retirements as 2014 gets closer, but probably not as many as we had two years ago. Nonetheless, as noted, this Montana seat will be a tough one for Democrats to defend in an open race, which is why Schweitzer, a popular former two-term Governor, is probably their best bet.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Andre Kenji says:

    Schweitzer would be a formidable Senator. And being a Senator would help him become President. ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  2. stonetools says:

    Schwietzer might beat the odds. But I think we are moving to a reality of unformly Republican Red States and unformly Democratic Blue States, with a handful of purples like Virginia and Ohio.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. stonetools says:

    That’s “uniformly”. The Explrer browser I use at work doesn’t allow corrections.

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  4. rudderpedals says:

    I’m okay with this. Any moaning you hear is from K street, lousy it is with Baucus alumni.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools:

    Schwietzer might beat the odds. But I think we are moving to a reality of unformly Republican Red States and unformly Democratic Blue States

    I don´t think so. Being a Conservative or a Moderate Democrat is still a tough job, but it´s a much easier job than being a Liberal or a Moderate Republican. And in many “Red States” people in fact seems to prefer Conservative Democrats to Conservative Republicans. Take a look at Jim Matheson vs. Mia Love.

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  6. Argon says:

    @rudderpedals: Yep that will take their value as ‘regulators captured by their industries’ down a peg or two.

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  7. Schweitzer’s position on gun control is “You control yours, I’ll control mine..” Schweitzer jumped out of the governorship to go to work for a New York hedge fund.  That belies his populist image and won’t sit well with a lot of Montana voters.  This will be an interesting race to watch.

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  8. Socraticsilence says:

    If Schweitzer runs its not a race- MT is a purple state trending Blue and Schweitzer would get 60% or better in the general regardless of his opponent.

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  9. @Andre Kenji:

    Actually, ,the Senate is not necessarily the best path to the Presidency. Obama is something of an historical anomaly. We’ve only had three sitting Senators elected President.

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  10. wr says:

    @Let’s Be Free: What are you talking about? Schweitzer “jumped out of his governorship”? He served two full terms. It’s not like he quite halfway through his first term to cash in…

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  11. Andre Kenji says:

    @Doug Mataconis: If you come from a very small state like Montana that surely helps. Besides that, he would be a former two term governor besides being a Senator.

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  12. @wr:

    What are you talking about? Schweitzer “jumped out of his governorship”? He served two full terms. It’s not like he quite halfway through his first term to cash in

    It’s interesting you should draw a comparison between Brian Schweitzer and Sarah Palin — I’ll just leave it at that.

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