Spotlight

Mad Max

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus(D-MT) speaks during a hearing on health insurance exchanges on November 6, 2013 in the Dirksen Senate Office on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Josh Kraushaar
Nov. 8, 2013, 6:40 a.m.

For a sense on how the na­tion­al en­vir­on­ment is shap­ing up for Sen­ate Demo­crats, look no fur­ther than the Montana Sen­ate cam­paign to fill the seat of re­tir­ing Sen. Max Baucus (D).

— It’s a race fea­tur­ing a Demo­crat­ic out­sider with a com­pel­ling bio­graphy against a House Re­pub­lic­an. It’s tak­ing place in a Re­pub­lic­an state — but one where Demo­crats have won 19 of the last 23 Sen­ate races. And it’s emer­ging as an early test for how badly Obama­care will hurt Demo­crats, even those who didn’t vote for the law.

— Re­pub­lic­ans landed their top re­cruit Wed­nes­day in fresh­man Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT). After fail­ing to get former Gov. Bri­an Sch­weitzer in the race, Dems settled on Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who led the state Na­tion­al Guard and boasts out­sider cre­den­tials, without a vot­ing re­cord to scru­tin­ize. Last month, in the wake of the gov­ern­ment shut­down, be­ing a House Re­pub­lic­an was a prob­lem­at­ic part of a re­sume. Now, giv­en the pres­id­ent’s fall­ing num­bers, be­ing a Demo­crat in a red state could be more prob­lem­at­ic.

— Un­like in­cum­bent sen­at­ors who voted for the law, Walsh will have the free­dom to dis­tance him­self from the White House as much as he needs to. But in an un­ex­pec­ted chal­lenge, he’s fa­cing some friendly fire from his own party. Sch­weitzer’s 77-year-old Lt. Gov., John Bo­hlinger, is chal­len­ging Walsh in the primary, and the former gov­ernor told Hot­line that Walsh starts the primary at a dis­ad­vant­age. There’s clearly no love lost between the former gov­ernor and Wash­ing­ton Demo­crats.

It’s ap­pro­pri­ate that Montana is shap­ing up as an early bell­weth­er, giv­en that Baucus drew head­lines for sug­gest­ing — in April 2013! — that the health care law’s im­ple­ment­a­tion was be­com­ing a train wreck. His suc­cessor will be de­term­ined by how badly that “train wreck” costs Sen­ate Demo­crats next Novem­ber.

What We're Following See More »
FORMER GOVERNOR, AMBASSADOR TO CHINA
Jon Huntsman in Line to be #2 at State
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS
SHOW OF UNITY
Ellison Bringing New DNC Chair Perez To Trump’s Address
2 hours ago
BREAKING
CASE TO CARRY ON
DOJ Drops Claim Against Texas’s Voter ID Law
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Department of Justice "is dropping a discrimination claim against a Texas law that required voters to present identification at the polls." The case will continue to carry on with private groups who filed the lawsuit. The DOJ dropped the claim because Texas is planning to "cure the deficiencies" with the law, according to a draft copy of the dismissal motion the DOJ sent to the Campaign Legal Center. Texas Governor Jim Abbott tweeted a picture of a headline sharing the information with a caption saying "It's a new day in D.C."

Source:
TROUBLE LOOMING?
Durbin Says Government Shutdown Possible
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
AT LEAST 19 TODAY
Jewish Community Keeps Receiving Threats
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login