Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Schweitzer says he won't run in 2012


Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson

Gov. Brian Schweitzer, left, and his wife, Nancy Schweitzer, right, read "First Dog Unleashed in the Montana Capitol" to children while their dog, Jag, whom the story is about, listens at the Holiday Village Mall Saturday afternoon during the United Way of Hill County's Plant A Seed … READ! event. See Friday's Hi-Line Living page for more photographs of the event.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Saturday he has no plans to run for another office when his term as governor expires.

"I'm absolutely not running for anything in 2012, you can be assured of that, " Schweitzer, who cannot run again for governor due to term limits, said during an interview with the Havre Daily News.

Schweitzer, who was in Havre on personal business, took time to read to children during the United Way Plant a seed... Read! event at the Havre Holiday Village Mall. After the event, while signing copies of "The Governor's Dog Is Missing" with author Sneed Collard III of Missoula, he answered questions about his plans.

Schweitzer first stepped into the political spotlight in 2000, when he challenged Montana's Republican U. S. senator, Conrad Burns.

Burns defeated Schweitzer, but in a close race, with Schweitzer earning 47 percent of the vote to Burns' 51 percent. Reform Party candidate Gary Lee took 2 percent.

Schweitzer returned to politics in 2004, running in a four-way race for governor. Incumbent Republican Gov. Judy Martz did not run for re-election that year.

Schweitzer narrowly defeated Secretary of State Bob Brown, a Republican, with 225,016 votes. Brown took 205,313 votes, while Green Party candidate Bob Kelleher took 8,393 votes and Libertarian Stanley Jones took 7,424.

In his bid for re-election in 2008, Schweitzer won handily, defeating Republican Roy Brown 318,670-158,268. Jones won 9,796 votes in that election.

Schweitzer has enjoyed high popularity during his tenure as governor and received national accolades during his speech at the 2008 Democratic national convention.

Known for his trademark bolo tie and blue jeans, and for taking his border collie Jag with him to many events, the flamboyant Schweitzer has maintained high popularity even when many Democrats across the nation — including President Barack Obama — have seen their ratings drop.

But Schweitzer said Saturday he intends to step out of public office when his term ends.

"This is the only position I've ever been elected to, " he said. "I managed to make it to about 50 years old before I was elected to anything, not even dog catcher.

"And so, it shouldn't surprise anybody that l'd just go right back to private industry, in business, like I did before, " he said.

Schweitzer said that, once he is out of office, he expects he will have a little more time to spend fishing, and a little more time to spend at his Whitefish-area ranch.

"If the price of bred cows goes down just a little, maybe we'll get back in the cow business, " he added.


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