HELENA — Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s announcement Saturday that he would not run for the U.S. Senate in 2014 elicited reactions from prominent Democrats in the state.
Schweitzer had been expected to run for the seat being vacated by longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus.
Here is what Montana elected officials had to say:
Baucus: “I know what a tough choice this was for Brian, and I respect that he made the best decision for himself and his family. No one understands the pull of wanting to be home in Montana better than I do. Brian was a great governor, and there’s no question he would have made an excellent candidate. But we still have a wide field of qualified Montana Democrats who can run — and win — this seat.”
Sen. Jon Tester: “Running for the U.S. Senate is a big decision for a potential candidate and their family. Just because this year wasn’t the right time for Brian to run doesn’t mean we don’t have great Montana Democrats who are willing to run and are capable of winning the seat.”
Gov. Steve Bullock: “I certainly respect and understand after eight years in public life. He would have been, from my perspective, almost unbeatable. But by the same the same token looking forward, the advice that I’d give anyone looking at running is focus on creating good jobs, investing in education and making a more effective government. Montanans by and large are more focused on the individuals and the ideas that they bring than partisan labels.”
Bullock said he’s confident that strong Democratic candidates will emerge for the Senate, adding: “There’s a wealth of good folks.”
— Gazette State Bureau