Montana Politics

Champ Edmunds Exhibits Bold Leadership, Takes Shot at Steve Daines

While there may be no more hapless campaign for federal office in 2014 than that of Champ Edmunds, it’s certainly worth discussing his press release today which simultaneously demonstrated the futility of his campaign and a real problem Steve Daines will face from the right wing of his party if he pursues a Senate race.

In a PR decision that defies logic, the Edmunds campaign released a press release today entitled “Rep. Champ Edmunds Considers Staying in the U.S. Senate Race.” In it, Edmunds writes:

“Montanans deserve a conservative candidate. I am a true and proven conservative with a legislative record that clearly reflects where I stand now and where I will  stand in the future.”

“When I announced my candidacy to represent Montana in the United States Senate, I said that should Congressman Daines at some point seek this same seat, then I would step aside and become a candidate for Montana’s lone congressional seat.”

“As I listen to folks from around the state react to what has transpired in Washington D.C., I am forced to rethink my previous offer.”

While this bold profile in courage certainly won’t make a difference for Edmunds, the sentiment expressed in the press release does represent a real challenge for Daines. By voting to end the government shutdown after railing against “Obamacare,” Daines put himself in the unenviable position of being wrong twice—once among rational voters who saw through his effort to hold the country hostage and once among the irrational right of his party, who actually believe that pursuing a quixotic struggle against the Affordable Care Act justified threatening or even crashing the global economy.

PSC Commissioner (and certified kook) Roger Koopman has already joined in the criticism of Daines, writing:

Alas, these “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” have no true conviction at all — only preferences that wax and wane with the latest political calculation. In Steve’s case, apparently having a few lefties picket his Bozeman office was enough to drive him into the coward’s corner. Had our founders been cut of the same cloth, we would still be a colony with a king.”

Edmunds certainly isn’t going win a primary challenge against Daines from the right, but his attack at Daines’ conservative credentials demonstrates an opening for a more credible conservative challenger in a primary or a real vulnerability to a Libertarian challenger in a general election.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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