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MailTribune.com
  • Ex-governor says no to Senate

  • HELENA, Mont. — Popular former Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Saturday he will not run for Montana's open U.S. Senate seat in 2014, an announcement that complicates Democratic efforts to retain their majority in next year's elections.
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  • HELENA, Mont. — Popular former Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Saturday he will not run for Montana's open U.S. Senate seat in 2014, an announcement that complicates Democratic efforts to retain their majority in next year's elections.
    Schweitzer told The Associated Press that he doesn't want to leave Montana and go to Washington, D.C.
    He had been considered the Democrats best candidate for holding onto the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus next year. Schweitzer said he felt compelled to consider the race only because many in his party said they needed him to run. "I love Montana. I want to be here. There are all kinds of people that think I ought to be in the United States Senate," Schweitzer said. "I never wanted to be in the United States Senate. I kicked the tires. I walked to the edge and looked over."
    The former governor was recently elected board chairman of Stillwater Mining Co., Montana's largest publicly trading company and said he is enjoying his life. "I have responsibilities here in Montana, my family first. I have taken on a new life at the Stillwater mine. I owe it to the 1,670 people who work at the Stillwater mine that we continue to manage it and make it the best place to work in Montana," Schweitzer said. "This is my home, not Washington, D.C."
    Schweitzer said recent criticism over politically active nonprofits connected to him had no bearing on the decision and said such criticism isn't new.
    "This isn't my first rodeo," Schweitzer said.
    Montana's open Senate seat is one of several being targeted by Republicans who hope to regain Senate control in the 2014 elections. Republicans need to pick up six seats to win back the majority and enjoy several advantages: the GOP is defending fewer incumbents than Democrats and could benefit from the fact that the party controlling the White House usually loses seats during the midterm election of a second-term president.
    Democrats need to defend 21 seats, including seven in largely rural states that Republican Mitt Romney carried in 2012.
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