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 »
Republican Polling Shows Close Race
Roundup: National Polling Remains Inconsistent
1 hours ago

The national polls, once again, tell very different stories: Clinton leads by just one point in the IBD, Rasmussen, and LA Times tracking polls, while she shows a commanding 12 point lead in the ABC news poll and a smaller but sizable five point lead in the CNN poll. The Republican Remington Research Group released a slew of polls showing Trump up in Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, a tie in Florida, and Clinton leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. However, an independent Siena poll shows Clinton up 7 in North Carolina, while a Monmouth poll shows Trump up one in Arizona

Colin Powell to Vote for Clinton
3 hours ago
Cook Report: Dems to Pick up 5-7 Seats, Retake Senate
5 hours ago

Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.

"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."

Tying Republicans to Trump Now an Actionable Offense
7 hours ago

"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."

Former Congressman Schock Fined $10,000
7 hours ago

Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.


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.