Politico includes Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer on it’s list of potential Democrats for the 2016 presidential ticket:
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer
Much like Obama’s 2004 convention speech catapulted him to star status, Schweitzer’s 2008 speech also gave him credibility, buzz and recognition among party leaders. While Montana is not a swing state, its red-state credentials would help shake the liberal label the other 2016 hopefuls might carry. Schweitzer is a fresh face whose oratorical skills are an asset and a liability. U.S.News& World Report wrote last summer that Schweitzer impressed party elders across early states, already laying the groundwork for a primary slog.
Of course, it can’t hurt that Montana has had the highest surplus in the state’s history under Governor Schweitzer with an average ending fund balance of $414 million. The average fund balance of the eighteen years prior to Schweitzer was $54 million.
Also on the list: Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, and Martin O’Malley.
Politico now calls Montana’s 2012 gubernatorial race as one of the top two most competitive governors’ races in the nation, citing Rick Hill’s personal problems, and the likely entry of AG Steve Bullock, as the reasons.
Amusingly, Hill is quoted in the Politico story as saying that his sordid affair with a barmaid that was documented in the press, and his abusive behavior toward his ex-wife that she spoke publicly about, are “anonymous attacks from thirty years ago” and can all be chalked up to “Democratic dirty tricks.”
The Politico rating might sound like inside baseball, but it will probably have consequences within the primary. At some point, the other candidates will start talking publicly about the trash they have so far been only circulating anonymously via surrogates. And at least one candidate has several million dollars of personal dough he can dump into the race at the blink of an eye.
The story could embolden the field generally, dislodging candidates like Stapleton or Miller, of Billings and Laurel respectively, from a status of lieutenant-governor-hopefuls to full on candidates.
At a minimum, it looks like we’ll have something fun to talk about over the summer.