Corey Stapleton, former state senator from Billings, has thrown his hat into the ring for US Senate, for the right to challenge Max Baucus in the race. Stapleton turned in a fair effort for Governor in 2012, but ran out of steam in the end. In his gubernatorial campaign, Stapleton informed us that he served in the Navy and once was a wrestler. The question is what, specifically, he will propose as a candidate or will criticize Baucus for. His first day on the hustings produced bland, empty charges of “big deficits in Washington” and the like. Generally speaking, the GOP field is shaping up to be seven dwarfs with no Snow White. Champ Edmunds, Scott Reichner, Stapleton–all are state legislators with little to recommend them beyond their service in the legislature. And as usual with Republican primaries in Montana, the field will likely consist of all, or nearly all, men.
The big name on the GOP side will be Steve Daines, if he takes the plunge. If Daines takes a pass and does not run, it will be many years before he has another chance at moving up to The Big House.
Other names that have been knocked about are Ryan Zinke, Neil Livingstone, Dennis Rehberg, and all the other usual suspects. On paper, Zinke–an occasional Cowgirl Blog commenter–has the strongest hand, for having run statewide and also for his compelling story of having once commanded a Seal Team in the Navy (take that, Stapleton). Needless to say, the wildcard in all of this, the 8,000 pound elephant in the room, is Schweitzer.