Posted: May 1, 2013 10:56 AM by MTN News
A newly released poll shows former Governor Brian Schweitzer is in the driver's seat if he chooses to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Max Baucus.
The results, from GOP pollster Harper Polling, show a majority of Montanans, 54%, hold a favorable opinion of Schweitzer.
The survey pits the Democrat against another popular former governor, Marc Racicot, whose name is also being prominently mentioned. Schweitzer holds a narrow four-point lead over Racicot, who has not said whether he's interested in running.
First term Congressman Steve Daines says he will consider a Senate run, and the Harper poll shows Schweitzer with a 10-point margin in that matchup.
The pollsters also looked at a hypothetical Republican primary with Racicot taking a 42% to 26% lead over Daines. Twenty two percent say they are unsure.
The only two candidates who have announced their candidacies - former state lawmaker Corey Stapleton of Billings and Missoula State Senator Champ Edmunds - are a distant fourth and fifth.
The survey was done over the past weekend, and did not include former Congressman Denny Rehberg, who says he is considering another run for the Senate.