Here's how it was supposed to go for the Democrats: Max Baucus would vacate his Montana Senate seat next year, and former Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer would take his place. Schweitzer was a popular leader, and considered the best chance the Democrats had at retaining the Senate seat. But now Schweitzer says he doesn't want it. "I love Montana. I want to be here," he says, per the AP. "This is my home, not Washington, DC." The announcement comes after Democratic leaders had begun to cool on Schweitzer as a prospect due to recent revelations of his connections to a political nonprofit while in office, Politico reports. But Schweitzer says that didn't sway his decision. "I don't want a job where I have to wear a suit, and my dog isn't welcome," he says.
Either way, the loss of his candidacy makes the Montana seat a possible pickup for the GOP, which would put it one vote closer to controlling the Senate. Potential Democratic replacements for Schweitzer include public schools superintendent Denise Juneau, insurance commissioner Monica Lindeen, and the president of Emily’s List, Stephanie Schriock, reports Politico. Former state Senator Corey Stapleton and current state Rep. Champ Edmunds are already planning on running for the GOP, but, the AP reports, party leaders are hoping US Rep. Steve Daines and former Governor Marc Racicot will also throw their hats in the ring.