No one ever expected the Montana Senate Race to play out in the manner that it did. Steve Daines, a Republican who was always the presumptive front-runner, never thought that his appointed, incumbent opponent would drop out of the race. And no one ever thought that Amanda Curtis would come close to defeating Daines when she was tapped to replace the disgraced former Senator John Walsh (D-MT). And she didn’t.
Steve Daines will be the first Republican to represent Montana in the Senate since Jon Tester defeated Conrad Burns in 2006. Daines, a one-term Congressman, ascended to the position of Senator and ran in an election that had a bizarre turn of events. Initially, when Senator Max Baucus was appointed to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China, many thought that Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, would appoint a placeholder that would run in the 2014 Senatorial election, and he did. Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid initially tried to weigh in on Bullock’s decision, but Bullock, as quoted in the Washington Post, told Harry Reid to “buzz off”. His Lieutenant Governor, a former Colonel in the U.S. Army, John Walsh, seemed to be primed for picking.
Not so fast. Walsh, who seemed like a viable Democrat to go up against Daines in the General Election, soon fell victim to a major scandal that ultimately ended his career in politics. A New York Times article reported that Walsh had plagiarized a 2007 report he wrote at the Army War College. For Daines, this news only propelled the Congressman to an even more secure, resounding victory.
And the Amanda Curtis story is even more bizarre. Curtis, a Montana State Representative, was tapped to be the Democratic nominee following Walsh’s resignation from the race. Her background included online videos in which she ranted about the Republicans in the Montana State Legislature – and a liberal voting record.
Nonetheless, Daines was victorious after capturing 57.9% of the vote, while Curtis posted 40%. Daines business background and conservative voting record in the House will make him a valuable asset for Montana, and for the Republicans in the Senate. Daines, a native of California, holds a degree in Chemical Engineering. He spent 13 years in business with Procter and Gamble, and he is married to Cindy Daines. The couple has 4 children together.