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Well, well, well how about this? Longtime Montana Senator Max Baucus announced earlier in the cycle that he would not run for reelection. Baucus, who has evolved into a Lieberman-esque pain in the neck to progressives over the past few years, actually did the right thing by retiring which would’ve allowed popular ex-Gov. Brian Schweitzer to run for the position.
Then Schweitzer decided not to run and Democrats hopes were pretty much dashed as a host of other candidates declined before Lieutenant Governor John Walsh entered the fray, only to be joined by his predecessor John Bohlinger in a potentially contested primary.
So, today’s news is that Baucus will be appointed to be the newest ambassador to China sometime soon. This allows Governor Steve Bullock to appoint a temporary replacement which is widely expected to be Walsh. This could be a decent thing as Walsh will be able to get some experience in Washington and become a known quantity, which will help out in what is expected to be a dogfight against Rep. Steve Daines.
Now it might not be the best thing in Montana to have Washington experience but this could only drive up how many people know of Walsh. With Democrats expected to probably take a hit, big enough to maybe lose the majority in the Senate, this might be a game changer as every state will count.
Good news is that Baucus won’t be in the Senate but also President Obama is showing some shrewd political calculating here. Baucus, an architect of the Affordable Care Act, is peacing out and will be in China while Walsh should do enough to defeat Bohlinger and have a better shot at withholding Daines.
Let the games begin.