All of the speculation surrounding Denny Rehberg‘s political plans for the future is being put to rest. Thankfully rollcall.com is breaking the “news” that Denny Rehberg is indeed challenging Jon Tester‘s senate seat. I was getting really tired of sitting on the info while political insiders claimed he was focusing on his House seat now in light of the successful fundraising by Steve Daines. Michele Bachmann is speaking at the Lewis & Clark Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner where Rehberg is expected to make his announcement.
Steve Daines is expected to announce Thursday that he will be dropping his senate challenge to Tester and instead running for Rehberg’s empty house seat. Daines was off to a great start fundraising and it is doubtful that he could have raised so much so quickly running for US Congress.
Tester has made quite a few enemies on the left lately, in part due to his vote against granting amnesty for children of illegal aliens. He’s managed to run under the radar in Montana however, voting exactly like Max Baucus most of the time while escaping criticism. Will Rehberg’s challenge produce a Republican senator from Montana or will our state lose all GOP representation in DC?
Will chairing powerful subcommittee be enough to deter Denny Rehberg from challenging Senator Jon Tester in 2012?
Montana’s Representative Denny Rehberg, was today named chairman of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, one of three subcommittees within the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Congressman Rehberg’s approval by Speaker Boehner and the House Republican Steering Committee was unanimous, he has served on the committee since 2005.
The question of Rehberg’s 2012 political intentions remains. Will he be satisfied with his higher profile role in Congress or will he finally decide to run for Senator Jon Tester‘s US Senate seat in 2012?
Rumors have been circulating for months and the Rehberg camp has been relatively silent on the Congressman’s plans for the future. Republican businessman Steve Daines of Bozeman has already announced a challenge to US Senator Jon Tester and many Montanans would prefer to avoid placing Rehberg and Daines in a contested primary. Some speculate Daines would drop out as a courtesy to Rehberg and would instead run for the Rehberg’s US Representative seat, but neither side has confirmed any such plans. Interestingly, Rehberg was also rumored, albeit to a lesser extent, to be considering running for Montana governor. Some Montana Republicans are frustrated with Rehberg, accusing him of actively thwarting the fundraising efforts of Republican candidates for both positions in question and are encouraging him to make a decision. When asked about Rehberg’s Senate prospects in 2012, spokesman Jed Link said “Denny is focused on doing the job the overwhelming majority of Montana voters sent him to Washington to do.”
Personally, I’d like Denny to remain where he is. I’m not a fan of lifelong politicians but since he apparently intends to be one, I think he will have far more power to advance a conservative agenda while chairing a powerful subcommittee than he would as a freshman senator. I think Steve Daines is a likeable candidate but his alignment with Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill is concerning. I’d hate for Hill’s baggage to adversely affect Daines’s viability. According to recent polls, US Congressman Hill currently has better name recognition but that recognition is highly negative. Daines, who is a relatively new face in politics (although he’s been involved on many levels for decades) may be wise to distance himself from the Hill campaign and instead capitalize on the current anti-incumbent/establishment politician wave. The only one who stands to benefit from the alignment is Rick Hill, whose advanced age, health concerns, unimpressive voting record, and tendency to bail in stressful situations makes many apprehensive about electing him to any office let alone crowning him the CEO of an entire state.
The End of a DREAM
Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester have had few successes in recent years. Conservatives feel they have ignored the wishes of their constituency in pushing through national healthcare reform mandates and other unpopular legislation while progressives feel they haven’t done enough. Some liberals now refer to the Montana Senators as “blue dog democrats” and describe their political ideology as “right of center”.
You know things are really bad when your most vocal and loyal fans turn on you though. In a tragedy befitting a political Harlequin romance novel, Markos Moulitsas, the influential founder of the lefty website DailyKos, has broken up with Senator Jon Tester. After the desperate Senator expressed his intent to vote against the controversial DREAM act, Moulitsas took to publicly criticizing the man he’d once described as the “future of the Democratic party”. Moulitsas tweeted “Good luck getting reelected now A**hole” as well as a host other disparaging Twitter comments about the man he’d once loved.
The DREAM act is over, possibly forever; and with it ends the liberal dream of millions of new undocumented Democrats becoming legal voters. Moulitsas and other progressives have been betrayed by Tester’s desperation as he is facing a difficult reelection bid in 2012. Montana voters would not forgive the Senator’s support of the DREAM act on top of the national healthcare reform mandates so Tester caved. It remains to be seen whether liberals will forgive Tester or express their disappointment in the Senator by closing their checkbooks but it is certain they will not soon forget. Steve Daines, a Republican Montana businessman is thus far Tester’s only opponent in the 2012 election although there is speculation that Montana’s lone Congressman Republican Denny Rehberg will seek Tester’s seat in the US Senate.
End of a DREAM, Loyal Supporters Turn on Tester
Gun Owners of America announced this week they are endorsing Steve Daines, a Republican who recently announced his bid to unseat US Senator Jon Tester from Montana.
GOA endorses Steve Daines for US Senate
“In this race for United States Senate, we’ve found a pro-Second Amendment candidate with real leadership skills in Steve Daines,” said GOA’s Vice-Chairman Tim Macy.
“Steve understands that protecting the Second Amendment is not just about gun control—it’s about control. Elitists in Washington want to control our economy, control our ability to protect ourselves and our families and, in effect, control every aspect of the lives of Americans.”
"I'm a Republican for Rick Hill" says AJ Otjen
Gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill picked up an endorsement from liberal Republican Agnes Otjen this week. “AJ” Otjen ran unsuccessfully (as a self-described “Teddy Roosevelt Republican”) for Montana’s GOP nomination for congress earlier this year, gathering just 6% of the June primary vote. Otjen may be best remembered for her 2008 vote for Democrat Barack Obama. She agreed that this was the very same reason she voted for Barack Obama, who ironically enough has been described recently as “too far left” by European leaders. Hill has told friends that several Democrats have been encouraging him to run for Governor in 2012, because he “would be the moderate in the field”, although Hill’s more recent statements have attempted to court conservatives. About Hill, Otjen said “I believe Rick will build a broad coalition and focus on the things with which we can all agree.” Hill has joined former state senators Ken Miller of Laurel and Corey Stapleton of Billings in what is expected to be a crowded field for the open seat. Democrat Brian Schweitzer is barred from running again due to term limits.
Steve and Cindy Daines
RightNow Technologies Vice President Steve Daines (R) has ended speculation on his political aspirations by officially announcing this morning his campaign to unseat Senator Jon Tester. The fifth-generation Montanan intends to take his years of private sector experience to Washington D.C after sending Tester back to his organic farm near Big Sandy.
Progressive Democrat Jon Tester has seen his popularity in Montana wane after voting for the stimulus and healthcare bills that Montanans largely opposed. His voting behavior puts him in the mainstream of his party, having sided with Senate Democrats in over 90% of votes, With his partner in crime, Max Baucus, he managed to avoid virtually all contact with Montanans- most of them angry- prior to voting on the bills. In at least one instance, Baucus and Tester arrived at a listening session in Billings to find protesters outside the venue. They promptly left the event instead of facing the anger of their constituents. In contrast, Republican Representative Denny Rehberg held countless listening sessions and town hall meetings across the state.
Baucus has received most of the criticism over the stimulus and healthcare, in part due to his position chairing the US Senate Finance Committee as well as his public role in passing the sweeping healthcare legislation that he authored yet later admitted not ever reading. Montanans need to remember however that Tester is just as out of touch with Montanans as Max Baucus. In fact, Tester votes even worse than Baucus. According to the JBS Freedom Index, a congressional scorecard based on the US Constitution, Baucus receives an overall score of 8% while Tester’s score is a paltry 5%. Montanans should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for electing these thieves in the first place. In contrast, while far from perfect, US Representative Rehberg’s overall score is 79% with the most recent session scoring of 90%.
Let’s send someone who has a long history of success and job creation to the US Senate. Running on a platform of more jobs, less government, Steve Daines is the real deal.
Answer our questions, Tester.
The paranoid Montana Democrats have filed a complaint against Steve Daines, who they claim is running an illegal shadow campaign for the US Senate seat currently held by Jon Tester.
At issue is a youtube ad posted by Common Sense Issues PAC attacking Tester and Baucus and appearing to endorse Steve Daines for their jobs- although the ad never mentions Daines, nor does the group’s website.
In a telephone interview with the Billings Gazette today, Daines maintained that he isn’t currently a candidate and expressed concern that the Democratic Party had consulted with the media before filing with the FEC. The Gazette also mentions the “Draft Steve Daines for US Senate” Facebook group but fails to note that it was created by College Republicans- not by Daines, the Montana Republican Party, or the Common Sense Values PAC.
While it is widely believed that Daines will be filing soon (rumored to be November 13), there is also some speculation that current US House Representative Denny Rehberg is also interested in the position which has led many to wonder if Daines will instead run for Rehberg’s House seat.
Personally, I just think Jon Tester is unhappy with the new website the PAC created which pokes fun at the senator’s inability and unwillingness to answer questions from his constituents.