Draft Schweitzer for Montana Senate seat

Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) has announced he is withdrawing from the Montana Senate race and former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) has announced that he is not interested in running for the seat. My advice to grassroots Montana Democrats: Do not accept the Schweitzer decision, and begin a major movement to draft him to run. My advice to Montana Democrats who will formally meet to choose a candidate: Call on Schweitzer to run, and offer him the nomination.

{mosads}The blunt fact is that if Schweitzer does not run, the Democrats will lose this seat. Period. End of discussion. On the other hand, if Schweitzer does run, he will have a good chance of winning and could save control of the United States Senate for the Democrats. Schweitzer would be a strong candidate who would help Montana Democrats down ballot, and would increase the chances that Democrats gain a seat in the House of Representatives and win other races across the state.

The blunt fact is that Democrats are in grave peril of losing control of the Senate. On a good day, in my opinion, the chances that Democrats keep control are 50-50. On most days the chances are less.

From Schweitzer’s point of view, the odds he runs for president and defeats Hillary Clinton in the primaries are equal to the odds that the College of Cardinals someday summons me to be a future pope. However, the chances that Schweitzer is elected senator if he runs, and saves control of the Senate for Democrats, are very real.

If the Senate is ultimately divided 50-50 between the parties, and Schweitzer is the 50th Democratic senator, he would be a national hero to Democrats everywhere and that rare political leader who puts the interests of his state and party above the lesser considerations that make politics so widely distasteful today.

Montana Democrats should consider what happens if Montana is represented by a Republican senator, in a Republican Senate, with right-wing Republicans in control of key Senate chairmanships, and the GOP mobilized to deal a death blow to the Obama presidency and spend two more years of partisan gridlock trying to prevent the election of Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat in 2016.

The purpose of a draft in politics is to demonstrate widespread public support to persuade a reluctant candidate to run. The thought of a draft movement to urge Schweitzer to run for the Senate is exactly what a draft movement should be. It is very possible that as Schweitzer goes, so goes Montana, and as Montana goes, so goes the nation in the U.S. Senate. As Walter Cronkite used to say, “that’s the way it is,” and a movement to draft Brian Schweitzer for Senate would be the shot heard across Montana, and across the nation.

Wouldn’t it be great to find a politician who actually did the right thing for the right reason?

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at

Tags Brian Schweitzer John Walsh Montana United States Senate election in Montana
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