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Political analysts predict 2014 Senate race in light of Baucus retirement

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Apr 23 2013 06:24:54 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2013 06:30:27 PM MDT
David Parker
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Less than a day after Montana's longest serving senator Max Baucus announced his retirement, two Republicans already announced their intentions to run- State

Representative Champ Edmunds and former State Senator Corey Stapleton.

Political expert David Parker told us that a Democrat has held the seat for 60 years, and that this race could be huge.

He said there is a good chance former governor Brian Schweitzer could throw his hat in the ring, and if that happens, a Republican candidate could have a tough time winning the seat.

"If he runs, I think that definitely pretty much keeps this seat in Democratic hands," Parker said. "It's going to be very, very hard- he's the most popular politician in the state right now- he's got very high approval ratings. I think it'd be hard for the Republicans to find a candidate who could beat him."

We found a draft fund for Schweitzer created online within minutes of Baucus' retirement announcement.

By the evening, over $9,000 had been raised- with more than 8,000 people signing an online petition.

If Schweitzer does indeed run, Parker said the race wouldn't be as high profile as it would without him.

"I think if Schweitzer runs, I think the race becomes very much less interesting- I don't think it's going to receive quite the attention," Parker said. "If he doesn't run, then I think the race could be a lot more interesting because then it could be much more open and anyone's game."

As far as who might step up if Schweitzer doesn't, Parker said there isn't a clear second Democratic candidate.