montana

Gubernatorial Races to Watch in 2016

Democrats in North Carolina are hoping McCrory has overplayed his hand. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

Despite Democrats' surprising victory last week in Louisiana — where state Rep. John Bel Edwards beat Republican Sen. David Vitter in the runoff –  they hold only 18 gubernatorial seats, compared to the 31 held by Republican governors.  

Next year, Democrats will defend eight seats, including ones in targeted U.S. Senate battle grounds such as Missouri and New Hampshire, while Republicans will defend four.  Missouri: With incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon on his way out,  Republicans believe one of their top pickup opportunities is in Missouri, where the chief executive's office has been held by Democrats for all but four of the past 22 years.  

Ratings Changes in Two Governors' Races

Indiana's Pence angered both moderates and conservatives over how he handled the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (File Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Gubernatorial races don’t get a lot of coverage in the nation’s capital, but based on the field of presidential contenders, the chief executive of each state can be a consequential figure.  

Republicans are looking to sweep Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana this year for the first time in history. And the GOP is largely playing offense next year including Montana, where wealthy tech entrepreneur Greg Gianforte announced his candidacy against Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.  

Tester's DSCC Pursues Same Strategy That Nearly Nixed Him in 2006

Tester makes his way through the basement of the Capitol before a vote on the Senate floor on Dec. 12, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had its way a decade ago, its current chairman probably wouldn’t be in the Senate today.  

In the 2006 cycle, Democratic strategists in Washington preferred state Auditor John Morrison in the Montana Senate race, hoping to avoid a primary and keep the party focused on defeating Republican incumbent Conrad Burns. But state Sen. Jon Tester was undeterred by national Democratic efforts to get him out of the race and even bragged about being opposed by the party establishment. Tester went on to win the primary and general elections, plus a close re-election six years later. He's now in charge of Democratic efforts to retake the Senate majority in 2016.  

Lopach Leads March Toward Democratic Senate Majority

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Smoke billowed out of Ted Kennedy’s living room fireplace as donors gathered in his D.C. home for a fundraiser, though the legendary senator was still on the Hill for votes.  

But that wasn’t too much for Tom Lopach.  

Senators Line Up to Be DSCC Chairman in 2016

Tester, right, is interested in leading the DSCC next cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had limited options over the past two cycles as he recruited a chairman to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. But 2016 is likely to be different.  

After two straight cycles of defending twice as many seats as Republicans, the tables will soon turn as the Republican class of 2010 faces re-election. The next cycle will also feature presidential turnout, which could benefit Democrats as they either cling to a small majority or, more likely , push to regain control — depending on what happens over the next few months.  

Fight for Senate Control Down to Five States

With six weeks to go, the fight for control of the Senate is down to five states, four of them currently held by Democrats.  

Republicans must win only two of those contests to guarantee the 51 seats they need to control the Senate for the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. And they need to win only one of the Democratic states if they hold the only GOP seat at serious risk.  

Top 4 Races to Watch in the Mountain Region

Gardner hopes to unseat Udall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are a lot of wide open spaces in the Rocky Mountain West — but few competitive races.  

Despite a dearth of important contests, the races to watch here could be good indicators of which party has the upper hand in the fall.  

Rating Change: Montana Senate

The Senate race in Montana continues to slip away from the Democrats. Burdened by plagiarism allegations, appointed Democratic Sen. John Walsh announced Thursday he will not seek election to a full term in November.  

Democratic chances of holding the seat against at-large Republican Rep. Steve Daines might improve slightly with a new candidate who does not carry Walsh’s baggage. But whomever Democrats choose to replace Walsh on the ballot will start off so far behind in money and campaign infrastructure that it is extremely difficult to see Daines losing the race.  

Ratings Change: Montana Senate

John Walsh was appointed to the Senate earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Roll Call was preparing to post my column yesterday on the Montana Senate race and recent Democratic polls showing the contest “closing,” a report surfaced in the New York Times about appointed Senator John Walsh’s plagiarism in his master’s thesis.  

The Walsh story is a huge one and undoubtedly affects the Democrat’s already uphill bid. Walsh, who didn’t dispute the heavily documented charge, said “I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD” before going on to suggest that post-traumatic stress disorder may have been a factor.  

Montana Senate: A Real Race or Simply Manufactured Buzz?

   

Maybe you believe in coincidences. I usually do — but not four months from an election.