By Amie Parnes - 12/19/13 10:48 AM EST
Jim Messina, the architect of President Obama’s successful reelection campaign, has been asked about replacing Sen. Max Baucus (D) in the U.S. Senate.
Obama’s 2012 campaign manager has fielded calls from high-level officials in Montana asking if he would serve as a placeholder for Baucus, whom Obama is nominating to serve as U.S. ambassador to China, according to a Montana source familiar with the conversations.
Speculation on Gov. Steve Bullock’s appointment has centered on Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who is running to succeed Baucus. If Walsh were appointed, it could improve his chances of defeating the leading Republican candidate, Rep. Steve Daines (Mont.).
Messina could also be an intriguing candidate, however, given his deep connections with state and national political leaders. Messina served as chief of staff for Baucus before joining Obama’s team, and was influential in Obama’s decision to nominate Baucus as envoy to China.
Messina has been receiving queries about whether he’d be willing to serve as a placeholder in the Senate in the event Bullock decides not to appoint Walsh, according to the Montana source.
The source said the calls from the top officials came knowing that Messina wouldn't run for election in 2014.
The Montana source said Messina seemed “very surprised” by the calls asking if he might consider the possibility.