Representative Steve Daines is still mulling a (second) run for the U.S. Senate, according to The Hill. This comes just as we’ve learned that former Governor Schweitzer has been elected Chair of the Stillwater Mining Company’s Board of Directors. Schweitzer’s success with the Montana mining company is sure to heighten speculation that he is running for the U.S. Senate.
The Hill points out that 2014 may be Daines only chance to become a U.S. Senator – “Republicans in the state point out that 2014 may be his best chance to win, given that the last open Senate race in the state was in the late ’70s.”
Mario Trujillo, who authored today’s piece in The Hill, points out that Schweitzer could keep Daines out of the race. “The decision for Daines and other Republicans to enter the race could ultimately hinge on Brian Schweitzer, who is seen as Democrats’ best hope of retaining the red-state seat if he runs.”
However, Daines is clearly the strongest candidate the GOP has to offer for the U.S. Senate. Yes, if the election were held today, Schweitzer would best Daines. However, Daines is the only (realistic) GOP candidate who would be in arms reach. As we’ve pointed out before, when Schweitzer announces, Daines will be under intense pressure from national Republicans and his friends in the state (Rick Hill, Roy Brown, etc.) to enter the race.
It’s no secret that Daines is remains interested in the U.S. Senate. During a 2012 debate against Democrat Kim Gillan, Mike Dennison asked Daines if he was using the U.S. House as a “stepping stone” for a U.S. Senate run. Daines side stepped the question, but his continued interest in the “upper Chamber” was clear.
Only time will tell if Daines is willing to get in the pit with Schweitzer.