Montana Democrats choose new Senate candidate
HELENA, Mont. – Montana Democrats on Saturday selected a little-known state lawmaker named Amanda Curtis as their candidate for U.S. Senate after Sen. John Walsh dropped out amid plagiarism allegations from his time at the U.S. Army War College. Curtis, a first-term representative from Butte, now faces the challenge of introducing herself to Montana voters and making her case for them to choose her over well-known and well-funded Republican Rep. Steve Daines with less than three months until the Nov. 4 elections.
“If we win here in Montana, outspent and outgunned in a race where we were left for dead, it will send a message to Washington, D.C., that we want change,” she said in a speech before the vote.
Republicans need a net gain of six seats in November to take Senate control, and Montana is a prime target to pick up a seat that’s been in Democratic hands for more than a century.
The Senate race was seen as a tough one for Democrats to win even with the incumbent Walsh in the running. Now Daines is expected to have a bigger advantage going against a newcomer who doesn’t have his name recognition or $1.7 million campaign bank account.
But Democratic Party delegates at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds insisted the race is still winnable.
“We need to keep this seat, period,” said Judith Forseth, a delegate from southwestern Montana’s Park County. “I’m not ready to concede.”
Montana has never elected a woman to the U.S. Senate. It has sent one woman to the U.S. House, Jeannette Rankin, who was the first woman elected to Congress in 1916. She was elected again in 1940.
Curtis, 34, is a high school math teacher. She emerged as the front-runner earlier in the week after she received the endorsement of Montana’s largest unions and high-profile party leaders said they weren’t interested in running.