United States Senate elections in Montana, 2014

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2014 U.S. Senate Elections in Montana

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
June 3, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Pending
Incumbent prior to election:
John Walsh Democratic Party
Gen. John Walsh.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Likely R[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Likely R[2]


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2014 U.S. House Elections

Flag of Montana.png
Voters in Montana will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 4, 2014.

Republican voters view Montana's 2014 U.S. Senate race as a good chance to take back a Democratic seat. Although the seat is currently held by the Democratic party, incumbent John Walsh dropped out of the race after reports surfaced that he had plagiarized a large portion of his final thesis at the United States Army War College.

Even before Walsh's plagiarism scandal hit the media, Republicans were confident in their ability to defeat Walsh. He had been in office less than a year, as he was appointed near the end of Max Baucus' term. Moreover, The Cook Political Report rates this seat as leaning Republican, and the website says that such elections are "considered competitive races but one party has an advantage."[3] Republican candidate Steve Daines had a significant lead in the general election polls, and as of the April Quarterly Federal Election Commission (FEC) report, Daines had $2,211,597.35 cash on hand in contrast to Walsh's $697,365.99. Daines had good name recognition as well, because he currently holds the state's only U.S. House seat.[4]

Although both Walsh and Daines faced challengers in their respective primaries, neither faced strong opposition, so they had been focusing on the general election throughout their campaigns. With his 33 years in the National Guard, Walsh focused his campaign primarily on veterans' affairs, whereas Daines has centered his discussion around economic concerns and "federal overreach into state and business concerns."[5]

Montana's Democratic Party had until August 20, 2014, to nominate a new candidate to replace Walsh. On August 16, they chose Amanda Curtis as the new nominee.[6]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 10, 2014
June 3, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: Montana is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[7][8][9]

Voter registration: To vote in the primary, voters had to register by May 6, 2014. However, if the deadline was missed, late registration was available at county election offices up until close of polls on election day. For the general election, the voter registration deadline is October 5, 2014 (30 days before election day).[10]

See also: Montana elections, 2014

Incumbent: The election will fill the Senate seat currently held by John Walsh (D). Walsh was appointed by Gov. Steve Bullock on February 7, 2014, to fill the Senate seat of Max Baucus after Baucus was confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to China on February 6, 2014. Walsh will hold the seat until the 2014 general election on November 4, 2014.

Candidates

General election candidates

** Incumbent John Walsh (D) dropped out of the race after reports surfaced that he plagiarized large portions of his final thesis for the United States Army War College. The Democratic Party had until August 20, 2014, to choose a new candidate for the general election.[11] On August 16, the party held a convention in Helena where delegates chose Amanda Curtis as their new nominee.[12]


June 3, 2014, primary results

Republican Party Republican Primary

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian Primary

Declined to run


Primary results

U.S. Senate, Montana Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Daines 83.4% 110,565
Susan Cundiff 9% 11,909
Champ Edmunds 7.7% 10,151
Total Votes 132,625
Source: Montana Secretary of State - Official Primary Results
U.S. Senate, Montana Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Walsh Incumbent 64% 48,665
John Bohlinger 22.6% 17,187
Dirk Adams 13.3% 10,139
Total Votes 75,991
Source: Montana Secretary of State - Official Primary Results

Race ratings

Washington Post top 10 races

According to an analysis by The Washington Post, the U.S. Senate election in Montana is considered one of the top 10 Senate races of 2014. When Rep. Daines entered the race in late 2013, Republicans had a clear candidate to run for the open seat against Sen. John Walsh[18]

Polls

General election polls

Steve Daines vs. Amanda Curtis
Poll Steve Daines Amanda CurtisMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports
(August 18-19, 2014)
55%35%+/-4750
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org


General election candidates
Poll Steve Daines John WalshRoger RootsUnsureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Human Events and Gravis Marketing**
(July 24, 2014)
45%38%9%8%+/-3.5781
Human Events and Gravis Marketing
(July 20-22, 2014)
45%41%6%7%+/-4741
AVERAGES 45% 39.5% 7.5% 7.5% +/-3.75 761
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

**Gravis Marketing conducted these two polls in quick succession in order to examine the effect of the announcement on July 23, 2014, that John Walsh had plagiarized in his final thesis for his master's degree. According to Gravis, Walsh's support dropped by 3 percent immediately after the news was released.

Steve Daines vs. John Walsh
Poll Steve Daines (R) John Walsh (D)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Vox Populi Polling
(August 3-4, 2014)
47%34%18%+/-3.5798
Public Policy Polling
(July 17-18, 2014)
46%39%15%+/-4.1574
Vox Populi Polling
(May 21-22, 2014)
56%33%11%+/-3.5806
Hickman Analytics, Inc.
(April 24-30, 2014)
49%37%14%+/-4.9400
Rasmussen Reports
(March 17-18, 2014)
51%37%9%+/-4.0750
AVERAGES 49.8% 36% 13.4% +/-4 665.6
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

A poll released in November 2013 by Public Policy Polling showed that regardless of the candidate, Daines was likely to win the seat in 2014. In a match-up against Democrat John Walsh, Daines led 52% to 35%. In a match-up against Democrat John Bohlinger, Daines led 51% to 36%.[19]

Race background

Daines' residency

Steve Daines was born in California, but moved to Montana when he was only a year old. His family had lived in Montana for generations, but his parents moved to California for a job during Daines' mother's pregnancy. Because Daines was born out of the state, the Montana Democratic Party (MDP) complained that Daines was being dishonest when he referred to himself as a "third-generation Montanan" in an interview. The MDP also explained that Daines later contradicted his statement by calling himself a "fifth-generation Montanan" in a campaign ad.[20] On February 26, 2014, the Montana Democratic Party asked that Daines release his birth certificate in order to “clear up confusion about his roots.”[21]

In a press release, the MDP stated, “The Congressman is so desperate for ties to Montana that he’s confused the facts and himself.”[20] A spokeswoman for Daines' campaign responded, “[Democrats] may be able to dictate the way Montanans live their lives, but unless Montana Democrats want to move Steve’s great-great-grandmother’s grave, they can’t change Steve’s strong heritage as a fifth-generation Montanan."[20]

Walsh plagiarism scandal

In July 2014, reports surfaced that John Walsh had plagiarized a significant portion of the 14-page final thesis necessary to earn his master’s degree from the United States Army War College. The thesis, completed in 2007, was on American Middle East policy and was entitled, "The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy." Many sentences appeared to be copied almost verbatim from other documents, including one from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and one from Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Walsh referenced some of these sentences in footnotes, but did not use quotation marks, leading readers to incorrectly assume that the sentences had been reworded. Other sentences were not cited at all, despite having come directly from other writers' work.[22] An interactive graphic of the thesis can be found here.

Walsh defended his actions, stating, "I didn’t do anything intentional here." One of his aides noted that Walsh had been going through a hard time in the weeks leading up to the paper's deadline, as one of the fellow members from his Iraq unit had committed suicide.[22]

According to one New York Times article, the college's student handbook states, "discoveries of academic violations have led to degrees being rescinded and names being scraped off the bronze plaques honoring graduates on campus."[22]

PTSD

On July 23, 2014, Walsh admitted his plagiarism, but attributed at least part of it to his unhealthy state of mind in the midst of struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in Iraq. Walsh stated, "I don't want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor... My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment."[23]

Just two days later, on July 25, Walsh contradicted his claim that the plagiarism was linked to his PTSD. He declared in a radio interview, "I am in no way, no way, tying what I did to any type of PTSD."[24]

Decision to drop out of race

After Walsh received heavy criticism from the media regarding his plagiarism scandal, many groups began calling for Walsh to end his U.S. Senate campaign. The editorial board for the Missoulian, a Montana newspaper, wrote, "Since Montanans deserve a true choice between candidates this November, Walsh should bow out of the Senate race immediately. With each passing day that Walsh remains in the race, Montana Democrats lose time to replace him with a more viable candidate."[25] The Billings Gazette, another Montana newspaper, wrote, "Having repeatedly said that he wants to do the honorable thing, Walsh should stop campaigning and do his utmost to serve Montanans well in the remainder of his brief Senate appointment. That is the honorable course."[25]

On August 5, 2014, an article from Politico reported that Walsh was "engaged in internal deliberations with his political team about whether to stay on the ballot this year."[26] At the time, his campaign spokeswoman, Lauren Passalacqua, would say only, “We’re not going to comment on rumors.”[26] In order for the Democratic Party to choose another candidate to take Walsh's place, he needed to drop out of the election by August 11, 2014.[26]

On August 7, 2014, Walsh announced that he would withdraw from the race. He announced, "I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. senator."[27] The War College also announced that they were making an investigation into Walsh's plagiarism, which could lead to the revocation of his degree.[27]

Amanda Curtis

As soon as Walsh dropped out of the race, Amanda Curtis emerged as a front-runner for the replacement.[28] She quickly gained several key endorsements, including the state's largest labor union.[29] The Montana Democratic Party set a nominating convention for August 16.[30] The week leading up to the nominating convention, many who had expressed interest in the nomination dropped out, some due to Curtis being considered the presumptive candidate by the media, leaving Curtis and Dirk Adams as the remaining candidates.[31][32][33][34] During the convention, Curtis received 82 votes to Adams's 46 (with one delegate abstaining), winning the nomination with 64 percent of the vote.[35]

Debates

Scheduling a debate has been a major point of contention between the two campaigns. On August 25, Montana Television Network announced that both Daines and Curtis had agreed to a debate in Bozeman on October 4. However, soon after the announcement, a spokesman for Daines stated that Daines had not yet agreed to a debate. A statement from Curtis confirmed her participation.[36] In early September, Curtis called for 14 debates with Daines, but the Daines campaign stated they would only agree to a debate in eastern Montana.[37][38] On September 10, the Daines campaign tentatively agreed to a debate with Curtis on October 20 in Billings.[39]

Media

Steve Daines


Daines' February 2014 ad, "Cindy"

Daines' February 2014 ad, "Daughters"

Daines' March 2014 ad, "Listen"

Daines' May 2014 ad, "Gayla"

On February 25, 2014, Steve Daines released two ads that featured his wife, Cindy, and daughters, Annie and Caroline. The ads touted Daines’ Montana heritage and experience creating hundreds of good-paying Montana jobs.[40]

Steve Daines launched an ad on March 17, 2014, that highlighted "his successful career in business, innovating and working to create new, good-paying jobs in Montana."[41]

John Walsh


John Walsh's May 2014 ad, "Brand New"

Walsh campaign ad attacking Steve Daines

Ads featuring women

In May 2014, John Walsh and Steve Daines both came out with ads centered around a woman's personal story. Walsh's ad attacked Daines for not supporting abortion on cases of rape. Daines' ad praised Daines for his support for the Violence Against Women Act.[42]


Walsh ad attacking Daines' position on abortion

Daines ad about the Violence Against Women Act

Campaign contributions

Candidate ballot accecss
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Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

John Walsh

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Walsh's reports.[43]

John Walsh (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Year-End Quarterly[44]December 31, 2013$0.00$583,103.00$(147,554.00)$435,549.00
April Quarterly[45]April 15, 2014$435,549.48$946,393.01$(684,576.50)$697,365.99
Running totals
$1,529,496.01$(832,130.5)

John Bohlinger

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Bohlinger's reports.[46]

John Bohlinger (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Year-End[47]January 30, 2014$0.00$22,490.42$(18,175.47)$4,314.95
April Quarterly[48]April 15, 2014$4,314.95$5,950.00$(3,992.74)$6,272.21
Running totals
$28,440.42$(22,168.21)

Dirk Adams

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Adams' reports.[49]

Dirk Adams (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Year-End[50]January 29, 2014$0.00$143,975.00$(68,936.40)$75,038.60
April Quarterly[51]April 15, 2014$75,038.60$223,520.00$(220,841.00)$77,717.60
Running totals
$367,495$(289,777.4)

Steve Daines

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Daines' reports.[52]

Steve Daines (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[53]April 12, 2013$15,407.18$252,869.34$(77,952.52)$190,324.00
July Quarterly[54]July 15, 2013$190,324.00$430,922.42$(60,392.38)$560,854.04
October Quarterly[55]October 15, 2013$560,854.04$642,537.15$(64,600.10)$1,138,791.09
Year-End Quarterly[56]December 31, 2013$1,138,791$827,134$(271,846)$1,897,935
April Quarterly[57]April 15, 2014$1,897,935.17$1,215,460.20$(901,798.02)$2,211,597.35
Running totals
$3,368,923.11$(1,376,589.02)

Sam Rankin

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Rankin's reports.[58]

Sam Rankin (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[59]April 10, 2014$0.00$14,922.87$(14,087.87)$835.00
Running totals
$14,922.87$(14,087.87)

Election history

2012

On November 6, 2012, Jon Tester won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Denny Rehberg (R) and Dan Cox (L) in the general election.[60]

U.S. Senate, Montana General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJon Tester Incumbent 48.6% 236,123
     Republican Denny Rehberg 44.9% 218,051
     Libertarian Dan Cox 6.6% 31,892
Total Votes 486,066

2008

On November 4, 2008, Baucus won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Bob Kelleher (R).[61]

U.S. Senate, Montana General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMax Baucus Incumbent 72.9% 348,289
     Republican Bob Kelleher 27.1% 129,369
Total Votes 477,658

See also

External links

References

  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 Senate Race Ratings for August 22, 2014," accessed August 25, 2014
  2. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 Senate Races," accessed August 25, 2014
  3. The Cook Political Report, "2014 Senate Race Ratings for June 26, 2014," accessed June 30, 2014
  4. Biographical Directory of the Unites States Congress, "DAINES, Steve, (1962 - )," accessed June 30, 2014
  5. Missoulian, "Montana Senate race: Steve Daines, John Walsh already swinging," accessed June 30, 2014
  6. The Washington Post, "Montana Democrats nominated Amanda Curtis for Senate. Here’s everything you need to know," accessed August 18, 2014
  7. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  8. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  9. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  10. Montana Secretary of State Website, "Montana Voter Information," accessed January 3, 2014
  11. The Washington Post, "John Walsh just dropped out of Montana’s Senate race. Now what?," accessed August 7, 2014
  12. Missoulian, "Amanda Curtis wins Montana Democratic nomination to U.S. Senate," accessed August 16, 2014
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named politico
  14. Politico, "Democrat Walsh files for Senate in Montana", accessed October 9, 2013
  15. Missoulian.com, "Bohlinger criticizes Baucus, Tester for early backing of Walsh in U.S. Senate race," accessed November 12, 2013
  16. Billings Gazette, "Wilsall rancher/political unknown says he’s running as Democrat for Baucus’ Senate seat," accessed August 16, 2013
  17. Washington Post "Another Democrat passes on Montana Senate race," accessed August 6, 2013
  18. The Washington Post, "The Fix’s top 10 Senate races of 2014," accessed December 10, 2013
  19. Politico, "Montana Senate race 2014 poll: Steve Daines in driver’s seat," accessed November 21, 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Wall Street Journal, "Montana Democrats Attack Daines Over Birthplace," accessed March 19, 2014
  21. Montana Democratic Party, "Steve Daines Makes Contradicting Claims About Montana Roots," accessed March 19, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 The New York Times, "Montana Democrat’s Thesis Presented Others’ Work as His Own," accessed July 23, 2014
  23. Yahoo! News, "Senator says he had PTSD when he wrote thesis," accessed July 28, 2014
  24. The Wall Street Journal, "Sen. John Walsh: PTSD Not to Blame for Plagiarism," accessed July 28, 2014
  25. 25.0 25.1 The Huffington Post, "John Walsh Receives Calls From Montana Press To End Senate Campaign," accessed August 6, 2014
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Politico, "Sources: Sen. John Walsh weighs political future," accessed August 6, 2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 The New York Times, "Montana Senator in Plagiarism Case Ends Election Bid," accessed August 7, 2014
  28. [Montana Standard, "Butte's Curtis may be the Front-runner," accessed August 15, 2014
  29. [Billings Gazette, "Adams, Curtis, Wanzenried vying to replace Walsh in Senate race – and maybe Bohlinger," accessed August 11, 2014
  30. [Montana Democratic Party, "Montana Democratic Party releases process and procedures for special nominating convention," accessed August 12, 2014
  31. KRTV, "Curtis gets the nod from Montana Democrats," accessed August 17, 2014
  32. KBZK, "Franke Wilmer drops out of race for U.S. Senate," accessed August 11, 2014
  33. Billings Gazette, "Wanzenried ends effort for Democratic nomination in U.S. Senate race," accessed August 14, 2014
  34. NBC Montana, "Democrats vie for Senate candidate nomination," accessed August 15, 2014
  35. The Missoulian, "Amanda Curtis wins Montana Democratic nomination to U.S. Senate," accessed August 16, 2014
  36. The Missoulian, "Election Day nears without Montana House, Senate debates," accessed August 26, 2014
  37. Montana Standard, "Curtis, Daines square off on debates," accessed September 11, 2014
  38. Great Falls Tribune, "Debating, tweets and more in politics," accessed September 11, 2014
  39. Helena Independent Record, "In state’s major congressional races, one debate scheduled, another looks likely," accessed September 11, 2014
  40. Steve Daines for Senate, "Daines Launches New TV Ads Highlighting Montana Jobs, Family and Big Sky Heritage," accessed March 19, 2014
  41. Steve Daines for Senate, "Daines Releases New Ad Highlighting Job Creation Record," accessed March 19, 2014
  42. The Washington Post, "Sen. Walsh hits Daines on abortion in ad featuring woman who says she was raped," accessed May 23, 2014
  43. Federal Election Commission, "John Walsh Summary Report," accessed February 7, 2014
  44. Federal Election Commission, "John Walsh Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 7, 2014
  45. Federal Election Commission, "John Walsh April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  46. Federal Election Commission, "John Bohlinger Summary Report," accessed April 29, 2014
  47. Federal Election Commission, "John Bohlinger Year-End," accessed April 29, 2014
  48. Federal Election Commission, "John Bohlinger April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  49. Federal Election Commission, "Dirk Adams Summary Report," accessed April 29, 2014
  50. Federal Election Commission, "Dirk Adams Year-End," accessed April 29, 2014
  51. Federal Election Commission, "Dirk Adams April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  52. Federal Election Commission, "Daines 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 18, 2014
  53. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  54. FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  55. FEC, "October Quarterly," accessed October 24, 2013
  56. FEC, "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 12, 2014
  57. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed May 16, 2014
  58. Federal Election Commission, "Sam Rankin Summary Report," accessed April 29, 2014
  59. Federal Election Commission, "Sam Rankin April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  60. Montana Secretary of State, "2012 Election Center" accessed July 8, 2013
  61. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013