Posted: Jul 13, 2013 11:59 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Jul 13, 2013 12:00 PM
Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) has told the Associated Press he is not running for U.S. Senate.
Montana Democrats were just getting ready to start their annual convention in Lewistown when the AP broke the news that Schweitzer will not be running for Montana's open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT).
This means Democrats do not yet have a candidate slated to run and many of the potential nominees are saying it's time to get the ball rolling.
MT Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau has been waiting to hear if Schweitzer would jump in the race before deciding if she would run.
MT State Representative Franke Wilmer (D-Bozeman) says depending on whether or not U.S. Representative Steve Daines (R-MT) jumps in the race, she would consider running for either the House or Senate.
"We need to get behind a single strong candidate," Wilmer said. "We can't divide our resources."
State Auditor Monica Lindeen says this news changes the political landscape in Montana.
"This is a big option I have to think about," Lindeen said.
Democratic operatives say that Emily Schriock, the president of Emily's List, is also considering a run.
Two Republicans have already announced their bid for the U.S. Senate: Corey Stapleton and Champ Edmunds.
Daines said this news isn't affecting his decision about whether or not to try and switch chambers.
"My focus is fixed on serving the people of Montana and doing the job they sent me to do," Daines said. "I will continue to give this decision the consideration it deserves, and am still taking time to talk with my family and the people of Montana about how I can best be of service to our state."