9:01 AM, Oct 22, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Entering the final fortnight of the Senate races, something of a pattern has started to develop. Republicans are leading in the Real Clear Politics average of recent polling in all states that were to the right of the national average in the 2012 election (which President Obama won by 4 points), with two exceptions: Kansas, which is tied; and North Carolina, where Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan is clinging to a 2-point lead but has less than 46 percent support. These right-of-center states in which the GOP is leading include six where seats are currently held by Democrats: Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana, South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia.
In all states that were at least 3 points to the left of the national average in the 2012 election (so states where Obama won by at least 7 points), Democrats are leading. These include several contested races, such as in Minnesota (4 points to the left of the national average in 2012), Michigan (5 points), New Mexico (10), Oregon (12), Illinois (17), and New Jersey (18).
That leaves three states that were less than 3 points to the left of the national average in the 2012 election — and the president’s Obamacare-induced 42 percent approval rating has put them very much in play this time around. Indeed, Republican candidates are leading in Colorado (1 point to the left of the national average in 2012) and Iowa (2), and Scott Brown is narrowly trailing in New Hampshire (2).
Then there’s Virginia. Versus the country as a whole, Virginia is as down-the-middle as could be: Obama won reelection nationally by 3.9 points; he won in Virginia by 3.9 points. Based on 2012 (and 2008 and 2004), Virginia is to the right of Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire — and Republicans are showing they can do quite well in those races. Moreover, as Kim Strassel, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Ross Douthat have all noted in recent days, Virginia GOP Senate candidate Ed Gillespie is running an unusually (for this cycle) ideas-focused, reform-minded campaign. In particular, he’s the only GOP Senate candidate so far who has advanced a genuine alternative to Obamacare. So why have national Republican consultants and donors so overlooked this race?
Incumbent Mark Warner, who voted for Obamacare, is somewhat reeling from alleged ethical violations involving possible discussions of a federal judgeship for the daughter of a key Democratic state senator whose position was important to Democrats’ efforts to expand Obamacare in the state. Even before that accusation recently came to light, Gillespie had cut Warner’s 20-point lead essentially in half, and Warner’s support is under 50 percent. (There has been no polling since the accusation surfaced.)
Given how saturated the airwaves are in most other winnable races, Republicans who are looking for a place where they can get the most bang for their buck in the closing days of the 2014 campaign might want to cast their eyes toward the Old Dominion.
With 13 days left until the election, Virginia has the feel of the race that might end up seeming like the one that got away. So why let it get away?
Aug 4, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 44 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The sad thing about plagiarism, aside from the act itself, is that examples are always plentiful. Just a few weeks ago The Scrapbook took note of the serial larceny of antiwar polemicist Chris Hedges (“War Is a Force That Makes Us Plagiarize,” June 23). Now, courtesy of the New York Times’s Jonathan Martin, we are apprised of shameless theft by a United States senator. The senator in question is Democrat John Walsh of Montana, who was appointed in February to succeed Max Baucus, now ambassador to China.
12:00 AM, Jul 24, 2014 • By FRED BARNES
Republicans have distinct advantages in Senate races this year, including President Obama’s low job ratings, the number of vulnerable Democrats, and an unhappy national mood. But there’s another advantage: the generally high quality of their candidates. This wasn’t the case in 2010 and 2012, when Republicans blew chances to capture the Senate.
The Democrats’ Senate problem.Apr 14, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 29 • By JAY COST
What do Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia have in common? For one, none has a city larger than 400,000 people. For another, they all voted for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. For yet another, they are the most likely places for Republicans to pick up Senate seats, thus taking control of the upper chamber, in 2014.
These three facts are related.
6:00 AM, Feb 24, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The political committee for former Montana senator Max Baucus, a Democrat, wrote a large check to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee just days before being confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to China. According to the DSCC's public filings, Friends of Max Baucus made a donation of $475,000 to the organization on January 31. Read a copy of the filing here, where Baucus's donation is listed on page 6.
12:10 PM, Dec 19, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Brian Schweitzer, the former Democratic governor of Montana who may run for president in 2016, spoke Wednesday night to Progress Iowa, a liberal grassroots organization, in Altoona, Iowa. In his speech, Schweitzer criticized Democrats who voted for the Iraq war, a group that includes a potential rival for the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton.
Watch Schweitzer's remarks below:
Hosted by Michael Graham.5:00 PM, Dec 16, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with staff writer Michael Warren on his recent piece Schweitzer Takes Aim, and how the populist former Democratic governor of Montana might challenge Hillary Clinton in 2016.
A progressive populist has Hillary in his sightsDec 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 15 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Brian Schweitzer sounds content with being a “former” pol. As we chat on the phone, he is looking out the window of his home on Georgetown Lake in western Montana. By mid-November, the lake is frozen, and the Pintler Mountains to the south are covered with snow. Schweitzer’s home sits at the end of a dirt road more than a mile long. “I’m 25 miles from groceries,” he says.
12:37 PM, Aug 20, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
As Obamacare's launch on October 1 draws closer, the Obama administration is trying to reassure the public that the program is going to deliver on the promises of the last four years. On Tuesday, White House Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications & Strategy David Simas tweeted (and the White House retweeted): “Great ACA news from Montana.
10:10 AM, Apr 23, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Democrat Max Baucus, the senior senator from Montana, will not seek reelection to his seat in 2014. The Washington Post reports:
Meet Corey Stapleton.3:16 PM, Feb 6, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Former state senator and Republican Corey Stapleton of Montana is jumping into the race to challenge a long-serving Senate Democrat, Max Baucus. One Republican strategist says Stapleton, a former state senator and retired officer in the Navy, has a "good story to tell," calling the small business owner a "young, fresh face."
11:20 AM, Sep 21, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senate majority leader Harry Reid is holding up the Senate to allow a vote on a bill introduced by embattled Democrat Jon Tester.
2:04 PM, Jun 22, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new ad from the Montana GOP focuses on Republican Senate candidate Denny Rehberg's record of independence from Washington and his own party, and includes a criticism of Paul Ryan's proposed Medicare reforms, which Rehberg voted against in the House.
3:35 PM, May 30, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican Senate candidate Denny Rehberg of Montana has a new television ad knocking his opponent, Democratic senator Jon Tester, for voting for Obamacare and Wall Street bailouts. Watch the ad, a sequel to Rehberg's first "Washington baloney" ad, below: