United States Senate elections in Montana, 2014

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U.S. Senate, Montana General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Daines 57.8% 213,709
     Democratic Amanda Curtis 40.1% 148,184
     Libertarian Roger Roots 2.1% 7,933
Total Votes 369,826
Source: Montana Secretary of State



CongressLogo.png

2014 U.S. Senate Elections in Montana

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
June 3, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Steve Daines Republican Party
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 elected Steve Daines (R) to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 4, 2014.

A plagiarism scandal and a last-minute Democratic candidate swap had Republicans all the more convinced that the Senate seat was theirs for the taking, a prediction that ultimately came to fruition.

Rep. Steve Daines (R) faced state Rep. Amanda Curtis (D) in the November general election.

Even before Democratic incumbent John Walsh's plagiarism scandal hit the media, Republicans were confident their candidate, Rep. Daines - who held Montana's sole seat in the United States House of Representatives - would defeat Walsh. Walsh had been in office less than a year, as he was appointed to the position near the end of former Sen. Max Baucus' term, upon the latter's selection as the Ambassador to China. Moreover, The Cook Political Report rated this seat as leaning Republican, and the website said that such elections were "considered competitive races but one party has an advantage."[3]

Walsh's campaigning and war chest of $697,366 was all for naught when, in July 2014, reports surfaced that he had plagiarized a significant portion of his final thesis at the United States Army War College.[4] As a result of the allegations, Walsh chose to drop out of the race, leaving Montana's Democratic party until August 20, 2014, to nominate a new candidate.

On August 16, with 80 days to go before the election, state Rep. Curtis (D-76), a freshman in Montana's House, won the nomination with 64 percent of the vote.[5]

Curtis, a teacher from Butte, faced off against Daines, a former businessman, who had been polling well and raised over $5 million.[6][5][7][8] Montanans would have been hard pressed to find two more dissimilar candidates.

Curtis, a self-proclaimed "anarchist at heart," supported Obamacare, believed in expanded background checks for gun purchases, was pro-choice and had connections to the Industrial Workers of the World, a far-left union movement that hoped to "take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth."

Daines, on the other hand, supported a full repeal of Obamacare, was pro-life and believed Washington should prioritize and tackle the massive debt problem.[9][6][10]

Had Curtis won the election, she would have become the youngest member of the Senate, at just 35 years old, and only the second woman ever elected to Congress from the Treasure State.[11][12]

From the beginning of the 2014 election season, campaigning centered around the general election. Former candidate Walsh targeted veterans' affairs, whereas Daines centered his discussion around economic concerns and federal activity in state and business issues.[13]

Libertarian candidate Roger Roots ran uncontested in the primary and appeared on the ticket in November. Like the primary, the main battle was between the Republican and Democratic candidates, Daines and Curtis.[14][15][16]

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.[17][18][19]

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 was October 5, 2014 (30 days before election day).[20]

See also: Montana elections, 2014

Incumbent: The election filled the Senate seat 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.

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.[21] On August 16, the party held a convention in Helena where delegates chose Amanda Curtis as their new nominee.[22]


June 3, 2014, primary results

Republican Party Republican Primary

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian Primary

Withdrew from race

Declined to run


Election results

General election

U.S. Senate, Montana General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Daines 57.8% 213,709
     Democratic Amanda Curtis 40.1% 148,184
     Libertarian Roger Roots 2.1% 7,933
Total Votes 369,826
Source: Montana Secretary of State

Primary election

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 was 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[29]

Polls

General election polls

General election candidates
Poll Steve Daines (R) Amanda Curtis (D)Roger Roots (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Montana State University-Billings[30]
(October 2014)
46.7%30.6%2.2%20.0%+/-5410
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


Steve Daines vs. Amanda Curtis
Poll Steve Daines (R) Amanda Curtis (D)Margin of ErrorSample Size
Gravis Marketing
(October 23-24, 2014)
53%39%+/-4604
Rasmussen Reports
(August 18-19, 2014)
55%35%+/-4750
AVERAGES 54% 37% +/-4 677
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


Former general election candidates
Poll Steve Daines (R) John Walsh (D)Roger Roots (L)UnsureMargin 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 percent to 35 percent. In a match-up against Democrat John Bohlinger, Daines led 51 percent to 36 percent.[31]

Race background

See also: Energy and the 2014 election: the ballots and beyond

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.[32] On February 26, 2014, the Montana Democratic Party asked that Daines release his birth certificate in order to “clear up confusion about his roots.”[33]

In a press release, the MDP stated, “The Congressman is so desperate for ties to Montana that he’s confused the facts and himself.”[32] 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."[32]

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.[4] 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.[4] The college's review board later noted that Walsh had submitted drafts of the paper with plagiarized quotes prior to the suicide.[34]

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."[4] After an investigation completed in October 2014, the U.S. Army War College revoked Walsh's degree.[34]

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."[35]

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."[36]

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."[37] 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."[37]

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."[38] At the time, his campaign spokeswoman, Lauren Passalacqua, would say only, “We’re not going to comment on rumors.”[38] 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.[38]

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."[39] The U.S. Army War College also announced that they were making an investigation into Walsh's plagiarism.[39] In October 2014, the college completed the investigation and decided to revoke Walsh's master's degree. The review board stated, "In short, the paper was plagiarized and ... the plagiarism was intentional."[34] In response to the decision, Walsh released a statement in which he wrote, "I apologize to all Montanans for the plagiarism in my 2007 paper, and I am prepared to live with its consequences."[34]

Amanda Curtis

As soon as Walsh dropped out of the race, Amanda Curtis emerged as a front-runner for the replacement.[40] She quickly gained several key endorsements, including the state's largest labor union.[41] The Montana Democratic Party set a nominating convention for August 16.[42] 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.[43][44][45][46] During the convention, Curtis received 82 votes to Adams' 46 (with one delegate abstaining), winning the nomination with 64 percent of the vote.[47]

Debates

Scheduling a debate was 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.[48] 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.[49][50] On September 10, the Daines campaign tentatively agreed to a debate with Curtis on October 20 in Billings.[51]

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.[52]

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."[53]

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.[54]


Walsh ad attacking Daines' position on abortion

Daines ad about the Violence Against Women Act

Campaign contributions

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

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

Steve Daines

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Daines' reports.[55]

Steve Daines (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[56]April 12, 2013$15,407.18$252,869.34$(77,952.52)$190,324.00
July Quarterly[57]July 15, 2013$190,324.00$430,922.42$(60,392.38)$560,854.04
October Quarterly[58]October 15, 2013$560,854.04$642,537.15$(64,600.10)$1,138,791.09
Year-End Quarterly[59]December 31, 2013$1,138,791$827,134$(271,846)$1,897,935
April Quarterly[60]April 15, 2014$1,897,935.17$1,215,460.20$(901,798.02)$2,211,597.35
Pre-Primary[61]May 19, 2014$2,211,597.35$512,327.71$(842,191.50)$1,881,733.56
July Quarterly[62]July 15, 2014$1,881,733.56$911,538.12$(1,065,472.52)$1,727,797.16
October Quarterly[63]October 15, 2014$1,727,797.16$1,853,201.41$(1,961,632.23)$1,619,366.34
Pre-General[64]October 20, 2014$1,619,366.34$307,857.50$(676,673.59)$1,250,550.25
Running totals
$6,953,847.85$(5,922,558.86)

Amanda Curtis

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Curtis' reports.[65]

Amanda Curtis (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
October Quarterly[66]October 14, 2014$0.00$557,897.09$(52,991.30)$504,905.79
Pre-General[67]October 20, 2014$504,905.79$165,381.61$(530,722.62)$139,564.78
Running totals
$723,278.7$(583,713.92)

John Walsh

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Walsh's reports before he withdrew from the election.[68]

John Walsh (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Year-End Quarterly[69]December 31, 2013$0.00$583,103.00$(147,554.00)$435,549.00
April Quarterly[70]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 were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Bohlinger's reports.[71]

John Bohlinger (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Year-End[72]January 30, 2014$0.00$22,490.42$(18,175.47)$4,314.95
April Quarterly[73]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 were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Adams' reports.[74]

Dirk Adams (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Year-End[75]January 29, 2014$0.00$143,975.00$(68,936.40)$75,038.60
April Quarterly[76]April 15, 2014$75,038.60$223,520.00$(220,841.00)$77,717.60
Running totals
$367,495$(289,777.4)

Sam Rankin

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Rankin's reports.[77]

Sam Rankin (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[78]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.[79]

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).[80]

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

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