Things are looking good for President Obama’s reelection, I’m happy to say. But I expect that my sense of victory (or relief) on the national level will be significantly dulled by a crushing GOP sweep on the statewide level here in Montana.
Up front and center, the numbers aren’t in Jon Tester’s favor. His defeat of Conrad Burns in 2006 was razor thin, and for all the talk of the Senate race being a tossup, most of the polls look to be in Rehberg’s favor. The house wins in a push, and in Montana, the house is Republican.
Speaking of the House, look for Republicans to keep both the U.S. House (Kim Gillan polls far behind teabagger Steve Daines) and the State House, probably by a wider margin. The State Senate, too.
Of course, a Republican-controlled State Legislature was tempered for the last few sessions by having the inestimable Brian Schweitzer in the executive suite. Can we count on that situation to persist? The polls look like a tossup, and so once again my inner pessimist calls that a GOP win by default.
Overall, I expect the Democrats to lose big in Montana. I don’t really have numbers to back this up; I’m just looking it up in my gut. But there’s one reason my gut tells me this: for whatever reason, Montanans hate Obama. Denny Rehberg’s campaign uses the president’s name as a slur against Jon Tester, and frankly, Tester plays along, moving away from the president as fast as his tractor will take him. I think we’re going to see a major Obama-backlash in this state, and it will carry enormous coattails.
The worst part of the scenario I’m foreseeing here is that we lose the Land Board. Incredibly, all five seats of that critical body governing land use are currently held by Democrats. I expect that to change disastrously tomorrow.
May Wednesday morning prove me wrong.