Why do I think Barack Obama is going to win in Montana? Because I don’t live in an entirely red state, because he has invested in an incredible infrastructure in the state, because young voters will cast ballots in this election in overwhelming numbers for him, and because of Ron Paul, who will take enough of the vote (3-4%) to close the gap between McCain and Obama in the polls. My best guess? Montana will be decided really late, as late as the Tester-Burns race in 2006, but by then, it won’t matter.
Governor Schweitzer will win re-election by more than 15 points. Under any circumstances, it would have been difficult for a Republican to unseat Governor Schweitzer, given his strong work in the past four years, but Roy Brown made the job even easier, running an inept, whiny campaign focused more on what’s wrong with Montana than what can be done to make it even better.
Bob Kelleher will get 26% of the vote, further demonstrating the absolute disaster that the Montana Republican Party has become. The write-in candidates will get even less votes this time around.
Representative Rehberg will win again, but by a small enough margin that John Driscoll’s unwillingness to campaign will be incredibly frustrating for at least one more day. I’m guessing the race will be somewhere near 57-42, which should be a sign that Democrats should immediately begin a campaign to take this seat away from him in 2010. It’s really unfortunate that Representative Rehberg has not faced a real challenge since 2000, and it’s about time for that to change.
I think I am most nervous about this race among the statewide contests. While Tim Fox has run a despicable, embarrassing campaign for Attorney General, there’s a reason he’s run it: Republicans run on fear. I keep going back and forth, but I think Montana voters will see through this campaign, and Fox’s entirely negative advertising strategy will hurt him in the end. Bullock 49, Fox 49, but Bullock squeaking it out.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Denise Juneau is the most qualified candidate in recent memory, and perhaps ever, to run for this office, and should win by a large margin. Juneau 55-43.
Secretary of State
Two invisible campaigns, two largely ineffective candidates squaring off for a largely unimportant job. The power of incumbency and state-funded travel will give Johnson a slight edge and the head start he so desperately wants towards getting his ass handed to him in a 2012 gubernatorial bid. Johnson 49, McCulloch 47.
Grimes 54, Lindeen 45. No particular reason.
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Mike Mcgrath has run a more aggressive campaign and has much higher name recognition, but conservative support for Ron Waterman (something I think they might regret if he were to win) will make this contest more competitive. Mcgrath 56, Waterman 43.
These are always hard to predict, but I think strong Democratic turnout will help. The Senate will be a +1 advantage for the Democrats, and the House will be tied.