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Friday, March 17, 2006

MT-Sen: All Hell About to Break Loose?

Posted by DavidNYC

Wow. This whole race might be on the verge of getting a lot more interesting. The top Republican in the MT state Senate, Bob Keenan, says he's mulling a challenge to Conrad Burns in the primary. Keenan can't run again because of term limits, and he said he won't seek a state House seat as an alternative. When a prominent Republican considers challenging a sitting senator of his own party in a primary, that means said senator is even weaker than you might have imagined.

But things may actually be even crazier still, if you can believe it. Matt Singer noticed this unusual detail:

Speaking of Burns’ race, does anyone find it odd that Rehberg still hasn’t filed for the House seat? With Burns’ seat in a free-for-all and both Max and Brian looking solid for ‘08, Rehberg just may decide that it’s time to cash in his chips. Given that the D.C. establishment reportedly doesn’t want Burns in this race and that they are likely to pick Dennis the Menace over Bob Keenan, it looks like Montana’s Congressman may be weighing the merits of picking a fight with the man he got into office.

Interesting catch indeed. I doubt that anyone is this clever, but maybe this is just a brilliant ploy by Keenan - goad Rehberg into challenging Burns, and then run for Rehberg's seat. Regardless, if Rehberg jumps in against Burns, then we'd really wind up with a sweet deal: Burnsie staying in, Burnsie getting wounded in a primary - or even losing, and an open seat in MT-AL to boot. We might just hit the trifecta!

Posted at 01:25 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

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well i think that rehberg would be a stronger challenger than burnsie, so conrad getting primaried isnt a good idea because he probably would lose

Posted by: yomoma2424 [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2006 05:34 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Question: Is Rehberg that "loved" or respected by Montanans that he would be too powerful a juggernaught to beat by either Tester or Morrison? I don't know much about the guy other than comments from the people who hate him (who REALLY hate him).

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2006 05:35 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It's pretty rare that someone seeking to defend an open seat is stronger than an incumbent. Not unheard of, but rare. The only example I can think of right now is MN, where Klobuchar is probably in better shape than Dayton would have been.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2006 05:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

If Rehberg and Burns got into a primary, be sure that blood would be spilled. Even without a primary, Rehberg isn't the most popular man in Montana. He polls well, but that support is a mile wide and an inch deep. I get the feeling that a lot of people are just waiting for something better to come along.

Posted by: Left in the West [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2006 05:59 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Yeah, doesn't Rehberg have ties with some Montana scandal too? something with Martz

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2006 06:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Do we have a shot in MT-AL if Rehberg is the Republican nominee for the House seat?

Posted by: D in FL. [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2006 12:52 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm just starting to work up the numbers on who Halliburton's political PAC gives money to.

It will surprise nobody to hear that they've already given $3000 to Conrad Burns this cycle.

They gave Rehberg $1000 in the 2004 cycle.

Posted by: Christopher Walker [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 19, 2006 09:46 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

There may be other Republicans vying for the seats. Submission for primaries doesn't end until Thursday and the Republican Party was doing intensive telephone-polling all last week....this may get interesting. Rehberg is popular in Eastern MT (as is/was Burns); especially with the push for more extensive natural gas and coal development being a hot topic. But, with a Democratic governor and democratic state senate, there may be hope the national seats will shift too.

Posted by: mesidjz [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 20, 2006 11:49 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment