John Adams of the Tribune has a piece worth reading about the upcoming Senate race in Montana, featuring profiles and predictions about the three leading candidates: Steve Daines, John Walsh, and John Bohlinger.
A couple of notes on the piece, though. Once again, it repeats the statistic from MSU-Bozeman professor David Parker, which says that Senate appointments are not likely to win their subsequent election:
Parker said history has shown that senators who are appointed to their seat and subsequently seek election to that position have a mixed record of success.
“Looking at all appointed senators from 1913 on who choose to run for election, about 52 percent, or about half the time, they win,” Parker said. “It only helps Walsh if you presume that Walsh’s chances are worse than 50-50.”
That statistic, which keeps being repeated in the Montana media is true, but doesn’t tell the whole story, as I have noted before. Since 1990, almost 70% of those appointed to Senate seats have won their subsequent election—including the last seven appointments. I’d argue that data point is far more instructive than comparing elections from the 1950s.
In the same story, it seems that former Republican Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger has changed his mind again about the number of terms he would seek, if elected. From today’s Tribune piece:
Bohlinger, at 77, said he would only serve one term if elected to the Senate. Bohlinger said that one-term commitment would allow him to advocate his progressive platform, which in part calls for expanding Social Security, raising the minimum wage and lowering the interest rate on student loans to the same rates the federal government charges banks on overnight loans.
That position is consistent with what Bohlinger said in October, but not what he said in November, telling the AP’s Matt Volz:
Bohlinger previously said he would serve only one six-year term in the Senate if he were elected. On Wednesday, he backed off from that pledge, saying he is “blessed with good health” and it will be up to the people of Montana to decide what they want.
It’s a small point, to be sure, but one that Bohlinger should take a consistent stand on. Montana has some recent experience with Senators breaking term pledges, after all.