Montana's 2014 U.S. Senate race is one of the few in which the incumbent appears to have a disadvantage, and Republican voters see this election as a good chance to take back a Democratic seat. Although the seat is currently held by the Democratic party, incumbent John Walsh has 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." Republican candidate Steve Daines has 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 does not have to worry about name recognition, either, because he currently holds the state's only U.S. House seat.
Although both Walsh and Daines faced challengers in their respective primaries, neither faced strong opposition, so they have been focusing on the general election throughout their campaigns. With his 33 years in the National Guard, Walsh has focused his campaign primarily on veterans' affairs, whereas Daines has centered his discussion around economic concerns and "federal overreach into state and business concerns."
Candidate Filing Deadline
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.
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).
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.
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
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. 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 email@example.com
A poll released in November 2013 by Public Policy Polling showed 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%.
The Montana Democratic Party put out a press release on February 26, 2014, demanding Rep.Steve Daines release his birth certificate to “clear up confusion about his roots.”
“The Congressman is so desperate for ties to Montana that he’s confused the facts and himself,” the MontanaDemocratic Party said in its release.
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."
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.
Steve Daines launched an on March 17, 2014, that highlighted "his successful career in business, innovating and working to create new, good-paying jobs in Montana."
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.
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