Posted: Jan 9, 2013 12:19 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Jan 9, 2013 12:32 PM
HELENA - Former Congressman Denny Rehberg is entering a new chapter in his life. After nearly 30 years in public service, he is now looking at what the future holds.
"I made the decision to run for the Senate, not because I thought it was a slam dunk, that I was going to win with no problem. It was a gamble," Rehberg explained.
It was one of the top U.S. Senate races in the country, with $50 million spent in advertising and national media attention. But after a hard fought campaign, Rehberg lost the election by 18,000 votes.
"Ultimately, the people make the right decision. Whether you agree with it or not, it's what ultimately occurs on Election Day. I can't explain it. I have a lot of people come up to me and ask me ‘What happened?' I don't know. I did the best I could to articulate a difference of philosophy between myself and the incumbent that I was running against," Rehberg said.
He added that he's leaving Congress at time where division is prevalent: Democrats versus Republicans, rural versus urban and conservative values versus liberal philosophy.
"For all of the complaining that we did about the direction the country is heading, we elected the same majority in the House: Republicans; the same majority in the Senate: Democrats, and the same President. So there was no change," he observed.
Rehberg says he is stepping back from politics for a while to spend time with his family and regroup, but he is not completely ruling out another political run.
"Well, I said I was done with politics in '96 when I left the lieutenant governor position, and I got drug back in 2000. I retired from the state legislature in 1989, and I got drug back into the lieutenant governor position, so you never know."
Reflecting on his time office, Rehberg says he hopes his legacy is representing the people of Montana the way they wanted to be represented.
"The gamble was worth it because I thought it was time to try and make a difference in the U.S. Senate. I don't like the direction the country is taking. I fear for the fiscal and social future of America. All I could do was travel around Montana articulating the differences between the direction I thought we were taking under the current management in the U.S. Senate and what I believe to be a brighter and better future for the people of Montana," the Republican said.
"So I look back and say I wish I really could have had that opportunity. But again, the people of Montana made their choice, and I live with that choice, and it's time to start a new chapter. Jan and I and the kids are ready, willing and able and looking forward to whatever happens with the Rehberg family," Rehberg concluded.