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Friday, December 31, 2004

Montana Senate 2006

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Roots has information on Montana Senator Conrad Burns that notes:

In 2000, with all of the powers of incumbency and more than two and a half times as much money, Burns only received 51% of the vote. And that was against an unknown challenger who had never run for office.

Last time, Burns fell victim to LCV Dirty Dozen targeting that minimized his financial advantage with $292,000 in hit ads and a full time earned-media operative. Conrad's 0% score will likely ensure another bulls-eye is painted on his back by the conservationists. LCV is expected to be joined by other independent organizations as the blood in the water is noticed by the DC crowd following this year's Montana Miracle by Democrats.

The jockying to replace Burns will officially begin at 10 AM Monday when a 19-gun salute kicks of the Montana legislative session. Since Montana's citizen legislature meets for only 90 days every other year, this will be the last legislature to meet before Burns answers to the voters. Incoming state Senate President Jon Tester is one candidate to keep an eye on.

Posted at 01:56 PM in Montana | Technorati


Happy New Year everyone. As I type away at my thesis over the holidays, I had to check back in here and see what was new. Just curious -- if anyone knows -- aside from the one state legislature race that was tied in MT, how much of a role did the Constitution party play in Dems beating Republicans so broadly in MT? Or are we seeing real blue breakthroughs along the Rockies (MT, WY, CO)? Here in Colorado although Reps have a regsitration advantage I have to wonder if the Dems and Greens together now outnumber registered Republicans.

Are we seeing a new brand of middle-class "populism" that's about getting things done for the average citizen in our western states? I was quite interested when MT was voting to have the state take over the electric producers last year? -- and a bit disappointed that this bit of populism failed, given the amount of well-heeled opposition. (MT utlities unfortunately have to sell their cheap hydroelectricity on the national market while Montanans pay the national going rate -- if they could "keep" their cheap energy in state it would've benefited all sorts of industry.)

PS Look down the road for Idaho to be another magnet for domestic migrants and changing population, with the focus on Boise ...

Posted by: Marc at December 31, 2004 04:48 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I don't think the Constitution party played a significant role statewide, with the obvious exception of the disputed House seat.

Posted by: MontanaDem at January 1, 2005 12:16 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Whoa - Montana is all of a sudden one of the most progressive states in the nation. What gives? (And - sorry to ask it - will there be backlash?)

Posted by: DavidNYC at January 2, 2005 12:30 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Backlash? Well the plaintiffs in the case you mentioned had their house torched...

Posted by: Bob Brigham at January 2, 2005 12:49 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Marc, maybe Im being too optimistic, but I think we might be seeing real breakthroughs in the plains. One of the key issues in those states, surprising to some, is the environment. This is an issue that the GOP might think only matters to the "wine-swilling, Volvo driving Northeastern libruls", but it is important to farmers and ranchers and I believe Salazar and Schweitzer used it quite effectively.

Posted by: T at January 2, 2005 06:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Don't forget that in 1988 Bush got 52% to Dukakis's 46%, in 1992 Clinton barely edged Bush, in 1996 Dole barely edged Clinton. Of course, 2000 and 2004 was heavy support for Bush because neither Gore nor Kerry took the heartland states seriously as both were centrist DLCers.

Posted by: MT Democrat for Kerry at January 2, 2005 07:12 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

And here's the source of the election results info:


Posted by: MT Democrat for Kerry at January 2, 2005 07:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

T - I agree the environment will be a huge issue. CO is different because half the people here live in the Denver metro, but the western rural population are still important -- as the elction of the Salazar brothers shows. In rural areas I think there's a negative perception of some things like EPA (Superfund), enviro lobbying groups, Clinton's roadless rules, etc; I think someone else commented earlier on the snow mobile issue -- big-city environmentalists have to be careful of stepping on toes/ lifestyle. But there's also a strong ethic for protecting wildlife, water quality, habitat, and recreation, and people who move here for the outdoors. And urban environmental issues -- the west is our most urbanized region -- if you've been out here, most of the land is either desrt, steppe, or mountains -- doesn't lend itself to the kind of small towns and farms you see out east. In Denver, we had 58% support for a rail transit tax. As for wine swillers, Grand Junction on the west slope of the Rockies has their own wine industry ... and I think fundamentalism is (becoming) less of an issue here (CO) than in the Deep south. And in all of the southwest, more Hispanics will be voting.

My concern is if we lose an increasingly tenuous hold on the midwest but gain a chance to win in the Rockies, we won't be in such good shape ... Ohio is still key. The west may be the key to winning the Senate -- with home-grown Democrats winning in the West balancing out the increasingly Republican Deep south.

Posted by: Marc at January 2, 2005 09:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just had to notice -- this means MT could very well ahve TWO Demcoratic Senators in 2 years?
One thing western candidates will need is a populist (middle class) resume.

Posted by: Marc at January 2, 2005 09:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment