Schweitzer vs. Baucus? Montana ex-governor posts poll

February 20, 2013

Without comment, former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer has posted a poll on his Facebook page that suggests he would beat Sen. Max Baucus in a 2014 Democratic primary.

The survey, from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, finds that Schweitzer would be a stronger candidate in both the Senate primary and a general election.

"This was a really odd thing to post," one commenter says. "I'm all for Schweitzer, but for the social media team to post polling data showing the former governor leading primary polls against another Democrat is just strange."

Another responds, "I agree, it is odd to post without any context, but I fully support Schweitzer in whatever he does!"

Schweitzer stepped down as governor in January; term limits barred him from seeking reelection. When asked by the Associated Press if he would run for the U.S. House or challenge Baucus in the Senate, Schweitzer replied, "I am not goofy enough to be in the House, and I'm not senile enough to be in the Senate."

But Schweitzer ran for Senate in 2000, losing narrowly to Republican Conrad Burns. He's considered a potential dark horse presidential candidate in 2016. Back in 2011, Franklin Hall, a senior adviser to Schweitzer, posted a similar PPP poll on his own Facebook page, calling it “very interesting."

Baucus was reelected with 73 percent of the vote in 2008, but he's a Republican target, and his role in health-care reform may have damaged his standing in the state.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Ed O'Keefe · February 20, 2013