With Baucus out, GOP Rep. Steve Daines to consider Senate run

April 23, 2013
daines
Steve Daines, with his wife, Cindy, on Feb. 28, 2012 in Helena, Mont. (Eliza Wiley/The Independent Record via AP )

Freshman Rep. Steve Daines's (R-Mont.) office says he is looking at running for Senate now that Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is retiring.

"Steve is humbled by the calls and e-mails encouraging him to consider a run for the Senate, and given today’s announcement by Senator Baucus, he is giving it serious and thoughtful consideration," Daines spokeswoman Alee Lockman said in an e-mail. "He remains committed to serving the people of Montana and solving the challenges facing our nation."

Daines was elected to former congressman Denny Rehberg's (R-Mont.) seat as Rehberg ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2012. He previously expressed little interest in running for Senate so early in his tenure.

He and state Attorney General Tim Fox appear to be the most high-profile potential GOP candidates for the seat, though others including former state Sen. Corey Stapleton and state Rep. Champ Edmunds are already in the race.

Fox's office offered a noncommittal statement after Baucus's retirement.

The biggest x-factor in the race is whether former governor Brian Schweitzer (D) runs. If he does, it may scare off top potential GOP candidates.

It's not unheard-of for freshman House members to run for Senate. Then-freshman Rep. Rick Berg lost in neighboring North Dakota last year, and Republicans are also recruiting freshman Rep. Tom Cotton to run for Senate in Arkansas.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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