Former Montana governor and Democrat Brian Schweitzer will not run for the open Senate seat next year, Politico reports:

He told the Associated Press that he wants to stay in Montana rather than move to Washington, D.C. But his potential candidacy was also raising red flags within the party: After weeks of courting the 57-year-old Schweitzer, Democratic leaders reversed course. Scrutinizing Schweitzer’s past, they concluded there was too much ammunition for Republicans to use against him in the campaign to replace the retiring veteran Democrat Max Baucus, according to a source familiar with the thinking of those leaders.

Polls had shown the gregarious and folksy ex-governor as a favorite in the race, given his popularity after two terms in office.

Baucus's retirement offers an opportunity for Republicans to gain a Senate seat in a conservative state that votes just as often for Democrats as it does for the GOP. Schweitzer was the biggest threat to this opportunity, but with the popular two-term governor out of the race, Republicans' chances of winning in Montana next year--and potentially gaining control of the Senate--just got a little better.

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