Is Jeff Bridges Going to Be Democrats’ Nominee for Senate in Montana?

No. But that isn’t stopping a whole bunch of petitioners from trying to make it happen.

Jeff Bridges at the 'The Giver' presentation during Comic-Con International 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 24, 2014 in San Diego, California.
National Journal
Matt Berman
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Matt Berman
Aug. 12, 2014, 7:55 a.m.

Demo­crats are strug­gling in Montana. Last week, Sen. John Walsh ended his cam­paign for a full Sen­ate term after it was re­vealed that he had plagar­ized his Army War Col­lege thes­is, and state Demo­crats will hold a spe­cial nom­in­at­ing con­ven­tion to re­place him this week­end. Bri­an Sch­weitzer, the state’s pop­u­lar former gov­ernor, isn’t com­ing to the res­cue.

Enter Change.org and its pe­ti­tion with well over 1,000 sig­na­tures to “en­cour­age Jeff Bridges, Park County Res­id­ent, to run for the Montana U.S. Sen­ate.”

The pe­ti­tion, or­gan­ized by Lizbeth Pratt of Billings, is to the point:

Jeff is a great per­son. He has loved Montana and all it rep­res­ents since he first set up res­id­ence in Park County four dec­ades ago. He has great name re­cog­ni­tion! Cha­risma! Brains! He’s in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned, but he is also highly ac­cess­ible. We need The Dude to be Montana’s next U.S. Sen­at­or!

“I agree with Mr. Bridges so­cial pri­or­it­ies,” writes one pe­ti­tion­er. “The Dude abides!” writes an­oth­er. “This man is in­tel­li­gent and thought­ful, a true par­agon of the hu­man race,” signs a pe­ti­tion­er from Boze­man. “Fa­cial Hair,” a man from Billings con­cisely com­ments.

Bridges and his wife, Susan, are big Demo­crat­ic donors, so it’s reas­on­able to as­sume that the polit­ic­al in­terest is there. But un­for­tu­nately for fans of The Dude (or his Tron char­ac­ter, who knows), this just isn’t go­ing to be­come a real­ity. For one thing, ac­cord­ing to the Montana Sec­ret­ary of State Of­fice, Bridges isn’t even re­gistered to vote in the state (al­though he does own prop­erty in Para­dise Val­ley). For an­oth­er, Bridges him­self told Howard Stern on Monday that his wife, who Bridges called “Mrs. Sen­at­or,” is against the idea.

Alas, we haven’t yet reached the stage of Amer­ic­an polit­ics where a high-pro­file Change.org pe­ti­tion trumps a primary or nom­in­at­ing con­ven­tion.

But there’s still an­oth­er hope, not in­clud­ing, you know, the ac­tu­al Demo­crats likely to stop in at Sat­urday’s con­ven­tion. Mi­chael Keaton — Bat­man, Beetle­juice, and Demo­crat­ic donor — ac­tu­ally lives in Montana. And to get him to show up, state Demo­crats may not even need thou­sands of Change.org pe­ti­tion­ers. You just have to say his name three times.

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