by Pete Talbot

Or so says the Washington Post.

“Who’ll be your whipping boy now?” asked my wife.

Still Max.  But I have a lot of questions.  Was it the public outcry on his latest actions the led to his retirement?  You know, his no vote on the expanded background checks for gun buyers and his comments on the health care “train wreck.”  The pundits say he did these things because he’s up for re-election in 2014.  Now he says he’s not running.

I get an email from Max’s organization every other day asking for money.  And he already has something like $6.5 million in his war chest.

So either he took a poll recently that said his numbers were in the crapper or he’s been playing at this super-secret campaign strategy to hold the seat in Democratic hands.  I suspect the former.

I guess it could be something else, like his health, but they say the guy runs miles everyday, so that probably isn’t it.  Then there’s this, from a source at ABC News: He has recently been remarried and “is finally happy,” the friend said. “At 72, he can still have a life. It’s harder to do that at 79.”

And the most shocking thing of all: The likely Democratic candidate to succeed him would be former governor Brian Schweitzer, sources said.

Where the hell did this come from?  It’s been said that these two guys don’t like each other very much.  Again, from the Post: ” … Schweitzer, a popular figure who at times has feuded with Baucus over local political issues in the Big Sky state. In February, Schweitzer hinted at a potential run in a Facebook post.”

Since I don’t follow Schweitzer on Facebook, this is news to me.  I thought Brian was busy trying to take over the Stillwater palladium mine over there in Columbus.

So much subterfuge, so little time.

Was Baucus really grooming Schweitzer for the seat all the time? Was this to keep potential Republican (or Democratic) rivals at bay. It seems to have worked on the Republicans with the two candidates, so far, being no-names: Corey Stapleton and Champ Edmunds.

This political insider crap drives me crazy, if that’s what it is.  I’m sure details will emerge over the next few weeks.  Personally, I’d like to see Denise Juneau run for the seat.


  1. mtstargazer

    I’d love to see Denise Juneau run!

  2. Eric

    Pete, there’s no super-secret campaign strategy here – Max could have won re-election, but after seeing what happened in the Rehberg/Tester race, with 18 months of unlimited negative campaign spending, I’m sure he doesn’t want to go through it.

    How would any of us like to see our picture on TV everyday, calling legislation we wrote a train wreck ?

    I can’t imagine Gov BS running, as I think he like what he’s doing now, but who knows, right ?

    • Steve W

      All I’m certain of is you don’t know, Eric. Though that never stopped you ever. Right?

      • Eric

        Never stopped me from being correct most of the time Steve – right before the last election you thought the Dems were going to do well in the legislature, didn’t you ?

        How did that work out for you ? – LOL

        • Jack Ruby

          Is that what you call it Goobs, “most of the time”? I thought you predicted a sweep for the GOP in the statewide races as well as Rehberg over Tester?

  3. Turner

    So what happens to the $6.5 million he raised? Will it be refunded?

    • JC

      Here’s a good anaysis of leftover campaign funds:

      http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/03/the-retirement-announcement-la.html

      • petetalbot

        Thanks, JC, for the leftover campaign funds link. Saved me the trouble of looking it up. I will try to update this post as other info becomes available.

      • Pogo Possum

        Max could also just donate the whole wad of cash to a university / non-profit “public policy institute” that could then offer him a nice office, an academic title, a captive audience and a life time “stipend” for his teaching/professional services after he retires from the Senate.

        • He could also give it to another candidate.

          • Big Swede

            Did ya see that?

            Pigs flying all over the place.

  4. evdebs

    Denise Juneau would probably make a great senator. However, the Koch brothers almost got her with secret money this past election where she only won by a whisker over a woman with an extremely questionable past, because Denise’s campaign was amateurish.

    I think Schweitzer would to a great job. He also knows how to win elective office and he’s extremely popular.

  5. Big Swede

    Dave Strohmaier for the win!

    • Well, Swede, Strohmaier did vote against ADUs (auxiliary dwelling units, granny flats, mother-in-law apartments, whatever you want to call them) last night at city council. So, he’d have all the ADU opponents in his camp.

  6. Pogo Possum

    “. . . . It seems to have worked on the Republicans with the two candidates, so far. . .”

    Don’t worry Pete, I know two more Republicans who have been waiting patiently in the wings to announce and know of others considering.

    We may see crowded primaries for both the GOP and Democratic tickets next year. Max’s no so surprising exit will open up the Democratic primary and level the playing field thus helping take away the financial advantage an incumbent Senator brings and making it more competitive and enticing for a GOP challenger.

    • If Schweitzer throws his hat in the ring, Pogo, which the pundits are predicting, I don’t think you’ll see a very crowded Democratic primary (or Republican primary, for that matter).

  7. Crow

    Corey Stapleton is a no name? Corey served eight years in the MT Senate, one session as minority leader, and came in second place in the most recent Republican gubernatorial primary.

  8. Pogo Possum

    Yes Max can give funds to anyone who runs for his Senate seat, but only within Federal contribution limits which is a max of $5,200.

    But don’t expect much help from Baucus if Schweitzer decides to run. Max isn’t very happy with Brian right now.

    Max’s Missoula office staff were blindsided by the announcement yesterday that Max was out of the race. Some were understandably in tears. Several of Max’s people are saying that Max was also blindsided by the initial news story by “political insiders” saying he was out of the race and and that Max wasn’t ready to make an announcement at this time. They are pointing the finger at Schweitzer who they say put pressure on Max not to run and then leaked the story to the press that Max was out. Max is pissed at Schweitzer so don’t expect anything more than lip service from Baucus if Schweitzer gets into the race.

    If Schweitzer does gets into the Senate race, Pete is correct that you probably won’t see a lot of Democratic opposition thought don’t bet too heavily on it. But you will still see a number of Republicans in a GOP Primary. I have already received calls from different interested potential candidates and Max pulling out will draw in more prominent Republicans hungry to run in an uncontested race that doesn’t immediatly put them in a $6 Million dollar disadvantage that Baucus’ money would bring.

    Also, don’t forget the wild card that would be a serious contender if he chose to enter into the race – Steve Daines. The recent PPP poll Schweitzer’s people hyped shows Daines and Schweitzer head to head (45/48 with 3.1% margin of error).

  9. That would be a way to get rid of Daines, of course, and would open the possibility of a Representative who would actually represent the interests of Montanans rather than corporate elites and billionaires.

    • Pogo Possum

      It’s nice to be able to dream, EV

    • Pogo Possum

      Do you mean “corporate elites and billionaires” like those at The Clinton Group that Schweitzer just teamed up with so he can help take over Montana’s Stillwater Mining and get a cushy board position paying over $100,000 per year plus a fat return on his $300,000 “insider trading” stock purchase.

      Get Richest Quickest
      http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/bizfinance/finance/features/10426/index3.html

      “George Hall—his hedge fund is the Clinton Group………… bought a megayacht. It’s 115 feet long. For a time he kept it at Chelsea Piers. Parking cost $12,000 a month, but then it was so handy if, say, he wanted to throw an impromptu dinner for 80, which he occasionally did. Or maybe cruise to the private island Paul Tudor Jones II (last year’s income: $300 million) owns in the Bahamas.”

      Even the unions and environmental groups oppose The Clinton Groups takeover bid, but at least Brian will be able to upgrade from his pontoon boat sitting on George Town Lake to a yacht of his own now that he has found a new love for the corporate elites and billionaires he has conveniently bashed all these years.

  10. Big Swede

    Max drew the ire of Der Fueher.

    http://conservativeintel.com/2013/04/23/did-obama-just-specter-max-baucus-or-did-he-specter-him/

  11. sos

    Now is a good time to replay “Sen. Baucus Drunk” on Youtube. Good riddance to a man of very limited intelligence. The Kennedy-esque forehead is what got him where he is today. Schweitzer is a buffoon. Franke Wilmer would be our best choice.

  12. evdebs

    I haven’t had a lot to do with Brian. Heard him give an excellent keynote speech at a convention four years ago and caught him afterward to give him info on the hucksters who took the town of Hardin for its reputation and tax-exempt muni bond seekers for $27 million. When the most recent scam fell apart about six or seven months later, he used the info I’d given him to put it into perspective. It was very helpful.

    I got the impression that he was a very savvy politician and a decent guy.

    I do know that NY Mag is a piece of fluff. I would hardly go there for reliable info.

    They did mention Brian in a piece seven years ago, however, when polling politicians who were afraid to answer the question as to whether evolution was a scientific fact.

    During a talk on climate change in October of 2006, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer polled the audience on whether it though the Earth was “hundreds of millions of years old” or “less than a million years old.” He then declared that he needed the support of lawmakers who didn’t think the “Earth is 4,000 years old.” Well, Roger Kooperman, a state representative who was in audience, was one of “at least two people” who raised a hand for the “less than a million” option. He later told a newspaper that Schweitzer’s comments “insulted many Christian people and other people of faith that arrived at that position other than the way I arrived at it.” And whose evidence is just as good, we’re sure.




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