Politico, the website that is the go-to place for political junkies looking for their fix, has been paying a lot of attention to Montana in recent days.
Every month, Politico lists the top 10 most closely watched U. S. Senate races in this November’s elections. Once again in July, Montana’s donnybrook between incumbent Jon Tester and U. S. Rep. Denny Rehberg was third on the list, trailing only Massachusetts and Virginia.
Tester “won” July, Politico declared, based on his success with his campaign ads claiming that Rehberg had voted against cancer screenings for women.
Politico pointed to a Billings Gazette story that indicated Tester’s allegations were shaky, but declared that the commercials appear to be helping Tester. The Tester commercials “have been widely viewed as some of the most effective of the cycle, ” Politico said.
Tester also won because he raised more money than Rehberg. The senator raked in $1.9 million in the last quarter, Politico said, and holds a $1 million advantage in cash on hand.
However, the website noted there has been no recent polling to determine if Tester’s successes will be reflected in public opinion.
Rehberg’s campaign says that the most reliable polls show their man with a slight lead over Tester. As with just about every other topic under the sun, Tester’s people disagree. They say Tester has a slight lead.
Politico also made its guess about the Top 5 candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. On the list, albeit in fifth place, is Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
Other contenders, Politico said, are Vice President Joe biden. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Schweitzer electrified the Democratic National Convention four years ago with a speech that supported Obama and attacked Republicans. Politico compared it to the speech then U. S. Senate candidate Barack Obama made to the 2004 political convention. That speech catapulted Obama to the top of potential candidates in 2008.
The governor is also mentioned as a possible candidate for the U. S. Senate seat that opens up in 2014 if Sen. Max Baucus retires — which he says he won’t — or if Schweitzer decided to challenge Baucus — which the governor says he won’t.
Schweitzer says he plans to retire when his second term expires in January.
The governor told David Letterman last month he has extensive plans for his retirement years: “I’m going to fish in the morning, drink whiskey in the afternoon and if someone calls me with a problem I will give them the phone number of someone who cares. ”
Mary White has joined our staff as a summer photography intern. You may be seeing her around town taking some of the pictures Nikki Carlson once took. We will be making an announcement soon on Nikki’s replacement.
John Kelleher is managing editor of the Havre Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (406) 265-6795, ext. 17, or (406) 390-0798.