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Monday, March 21, 2005

Montana Senate 2006: Conrad Burns to retire?

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Kos:

State Democrats made huge gains in 2004, and are eagerly looking forward to taking on Republican Conrad Burns. Burns won narrowly in 2000, 51-47 against the then-unknown Schweitzer (now governor). Attorney General Mike McGrath and Senate majority leader John Tester are possible opponents. Rumors out of MT say that Burns may opt to cash in on K Street, rather than face a tough (and possibly losing) race.

Last week Burns chose to toe the party line instead of playing safe for re-election when Burns voted for deep benefit cuts and a massive increase in debt. In Montana, the, "intensity of feeling about private accounts was much greater on the oppose side than it was on the favor side."

Moreover, look at how Montanans feel:

Deep Benefit Cuts
Support/Oppose: 15%/75%

Massive Increase in Debt
Support/Oppose: 18%/73%

If Burns was planning on running for re-election, then positioning himself against 3 out of 4 Montanas (on the biggest issue of the day) would have been political suicide. Burns is voting like a future lobbyist, not as a vulnerable candidate.

If the seat opens up, then the odds flip:

Rumors abound that Burns will cash in to K Street rather than face another tough battle, in a state that is increasingly hostile to Republicans. Hard to believe, but Montana Democrats took control of the governorship and both houses of the legislature in a 2004 election-night massacre.

Montana Democrats feel confident that either Senate Majority Leader Jon Tester or AG Mike MaGrath could put a serious dent in Burns' mojo. I've got this race as "lean GOP" so long as Burns is in the race. If Burns retires, then an open seat race leans Democratic.

Posted at 03:36 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati


Brigham, who do you like for the Dem nod?

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 21, 2005 09:48 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment