Governor Schweitzer gets yet another mention
The gist of the article is about who ofthe current Democratic presidnetial frontrunners will play best in the Mountain West states.
CAMPAIGN '08: MOUNTAIN WESTLocal Democrats in West fear impact of unpopular ticket leader
Noam N. Levey
Los Angeles Times
September 30, 2007
BOZEMAN, MONT. -- Election day was still more than a year off when Sen. Max Baucus recently stopped by the new Boys & Girls Club along a creek outside this fast-growing city in the shadow of southwestern Montana's jagged Bridger Mountains.
But the silver-haired Democrat looked every bit a candidate in a nail-biter as he finger-painted with children at the log-cabin clubhouse and then raced 100 miles down the Missouri River to the state capital to talk up what he was doing for the state in Washington. Baucus is the longest-serving senator in Montana history. As chairman of the finance committee, he writes the nation's tax laws. He is one of the most popular politicians in the state. And his party, which controls the governor's office, the Legislature and the state's two Senate seats, is on a roll.
Yet, as he prepares to run for a fifth term next year, Baucus is entering treacherous territory. Despite recent gains by Democrats in the Rocky Mountain West, party officials across the region are increasingly anxious that their congressional candidates may get dragged under by Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.
The New York senator and Democratic front-runner was by a wide margin the most unpopular of 13 potential presidential candidates in Montana, according to a June survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for the Billings Gazette; 61% said they would not consider voting for her, compared with 49% who would not vote for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and 45% who would not vote for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
The most unpopular Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was rejected by 51%.
Recent polls in Colorado, Nevada and Arizona have found similar distaste for Clinton.
"She's carrying huge negatives out here," said Floyd Ciruli, an independent Colorado pollster who said Democratic congressional candidates would have to highlight their differences with the national party to be successful next year. "It's that liberal East Coast image that is so hard to sell in the West."
One key advisor to a prominent Democratic congressional candidate, who asked not be to identified discussing tensions within the party, went even further. "It's a disaster for Western Democrats," he said. "It keeps me up at night"...
...But party leaders and strategists also attribute the recent gains to candidates who connect with Western voters and their values, in part by distinguishing themselves from the national Democratic Party.
Perhaps no one is more of a poster child for that success than Montana's colorful governor, Brian Schweitzer. Three years ago, Schweitzer became the darling of Democratic politicos when he swaggered into office with a dog and a pair of cowboy boots.
Schweitzer, a cattle rancher and the grandson of homesteaders, is no Democrat in name only. He is a proponent of energy conservation and environmental regulation. He favors abortion rights. And while the Bush administration was pushing to expand surveillance powers with the Patriot Act, Schweitzer pardoned 78 Montanans, most of them German immigrants, who had been convicted of sedition during World War I.
He also champions gun rights and coal -- a major Montana export -- positions that reflect clear differences from the Democratic Party's coastal wings.
"There are two kinds of people in Montana," Schweitzer joked in a recent telephone interview. "Those who are for gun control, and those who run for public office."
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