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Friday, May 06, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester Explores U.S. Senate Bid

Posted by Bob Brigham

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From the Great Falls Tribune:

HELENA — State Senate President Jon Tester, a Big Sandy farmer, is traveling to Washington, D.C., next week to talk to Democratic Party officials and fund-raisers about challenging U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns in 2006.

"We'll kind of take a look around and see if this is something we want to do," he said this week. [...]

Tester is barred by term limits from running next year for re-election to the state Senate, where he's served since 1999. An organic grain farmer, Tester last year helped Democrats win their first majority in the state Senate in 10 years.

Lots of excitement around this, especially on the blogs out west...

From Western Democrat:

Although the Beltway pundits like to talk about Chafee, Santorum and Nelson (of Nebraska) as the most endangered incumbents in 2006, these talking heads once again forget to look west. Burns was nearly knocked off in 2000, a year when he was directly below George W. Bush on the ballot. Without the President's coattails this time around, Burns -- who could face ethical investigations for Abramoff ties -- will be hard pressed to eke out a victory. With a strong Democratic candidate like Tester, who engineered the Democrats' takeover of the state Senate in the fall, Burns might just find himself holding a one-way ticket to K Street.

And Left in the West:

This is great news, not just because Jon Tester is a strong candidate. The field currently has one strong candidate and has other potential ones feeling out decisions. This is great news because Jon Tester has the potential to be a great US Senator. [...]

We certainly have not had much assistance from national leadership of late. One reason I believe in a Tester campaign is that the man is deeply respected on both sides of the aisle, which is something that used to be true of virtually every member of the Upper House in DC. He is a man more comfortable talking to farmers than to donors. I think that’s a good thing. He is also someone who doesn’t have a 100% from any interest group. He votes his constituents and his conscience and he doesn’t forget what those are. [...]

I write this post to speak highly of a man who could, I think, help restore some honor to the US Senate. I hope he makes the right decision.

Indeed. Tester needs to get into the race.

Which is why I was troubled to see this in the Tribune:

Tester said he'll also find out what commitments might have been made to Morrison or other candidates considering a run against Burns.

Hopefully, none. I don't see how anyone would commit to another candidate before waiting to see whether Tester runs.

Posted at 07:05 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati