HELENA – Former U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg said Thursday he isn’t ruling out a run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Max Baucus.

The Republican is coming off a bruising loss last year to Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. The two engaged in a heavyweight battle that saw record spending and an unprecedented flood of television advertising.

But an open Senate seat could entice Rehberg to run again in 2014.

Baucus announced earlier this week that he’s retiring after his sixth term, setting off intense speculation over who would run to replace him. It will be the first race for an open Senate seat in Montana since the 1970s, potentially giving hopefuls a better chance of winning.

Rehberg, in a statement emailed to the Associated Press, thanked Baucus for his many years of service.

“As to what the future holds, ever since Max announced his retirement two days ago my phone has been ringing off the hook. The encouragement I’ve been getting from Montanans to take a serious look at this race has been overwhelming,” Rehberg said. “I owe it to them, and to all the folks who I’ve served over the years, to keep listening and see how things develop. I’m not ruling anything out at this point.”

Rehberg took a job earlier this year as a co-chairman of the Washington-based public-strategy firm Mercury/Clark & Weinstock.

Others considering a run include freshman U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, a Republican who replaced Rehberg in Congress, and former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Both have indicated potential interest.

Some Republicans are also advocating former Gov. Marc Racicot, who served from 1993 to 2001 and later chaired the Republican National Committee.

On the Democratic side, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau has said she would consider a run if Schweitzer doesn’t enter the race. Another potential contender is Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List, an advocacy group that backs female candidates who support abortion rights.

Two lesser-known Republicans already have announced their intentions to run: state Sen. Champ Edmunds of Missoula and former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, who lost in the GOP primary for governor last year.

Baucus announced his retirement after he had already raised nearly $5 million, money he can use to help other candidates or political causes.

The 71-year-old said he wants to leave the Senate while he still has time to enjoy life outside of Congress.

More from missoulian.com

(26) comments

libertarian

For all the money Rehberg spent in 2012 and all those endorsements, you'd think his vote totals from 2010 would have increased by the thousands since we had 100,000 more voters in 2012. Rehberg's get out the vote was 355 more voters then in 2010. Montana still has term limits of Federal offices in the Constitution, so will these politicians support our state constitution?

dsrobins

It's interesting that virtually all the comments in this thread agree that Rehberg should not run again. Clearly, Montanans have reached a clean verdict that we don't want Denny in public office again.

Barak Nobama

You all know that I am pretty conservative. With that said, I too have seen enough of him too. I'd like to see a more respectful, kinder conservative run...one that has better boating skills. Also, I get the impression that he, like Baucus is an opportunist with little conviction. While I don't agree with Tester politically on a vast majority of issues, I do find him to be a principled man and pleasant. I respect him.

.

hellgatenights

Did you respect him (Tester) when helifted a leg and hosed us all by voting on Obamacare? Ummmmm......right, 75% of Moantana voters said no, Tester said yes with the 51st vote.


No....Tester has never made it on his own.......he has ALWAYS taken my sweaty, green dollars (taxes) to feed that large girth of his.

We can do much better.......I hope people will start looking now instead of waiting until you only have one choice.

brmoderate

Barak Nobama - that's nice to hear that . I appreciate a 'pretty conservative' person actually being able to tell that someone they don't agree with is a nice guy. Thank you

Picaresque

And here I thought we had finally put Do-Nothing-Denny in the rearview mirror. The guy keeps popping up like a bad penny. Sorry Denny, you're going to have to learn to live off of the public dole.

MontanaJim72

Rehberg said in January that he had ruled out running for office again. Much like Conrad Burns, who said he would only serve two terms if he was elected. You can't trust them once they get the power in their blood. I'm sure Rehberg is rethinking his "poor loser" antics on the night of his loss to Tester. The last thing Montana needs is Rehberg back in office. Nor do we need Racicot, who fled Montana immediately after the end of his term. He is out of touch with anything in Montana. I don't think either one of them could beat Schweitzer if he decides to run.

dave ajou
dave ajou

I'll give him one thing. He's a glutton for punishment.

Been There

Yuk! There must be somebody out there who would be better. Keep searching, Denny, for whatever you want to do. For everybody's sake--especially yours--DON"T RUN.

open mind

I hope the Republicans who had their hearts broken by the results of the last election remember what a poor sport Denny was afterward; how he went into hiding and left such a sour taste in their mouths. If he decides to run in this election, Montanans would be guaranteed the same negativity that permeated the last election. Denny, please, stay out of it.

hellgatenights

This would be a democrat dream come true. Denny couldn't beat an overweight subsidized farmer with a terrible voting record (tester)..........step aside denny, the GOP is quite done with you.

ford

i hope your reading this Denny. it looks like both sides finally agree on this board. which is something i dont think ive ever seen. enjoy your pension on us, live the good life on your ranch, and please dont run. nobody wants you, max, or john for that matter. we need new blood in office. one with the guts to represent the people. not the lobby in DC.

MiddleFinger
MiddleFinger

Yo Denny!

Sounds like you didn't get the memo from the American people. Allow me to paraphrase it. Basically is said that America is through with stupid republicans.

So that means you Denny are out of touch and out of luck.

Please leave Montana alone. You've done enough damage for one lifetime.

MTminded

Rehberg just lost one of the most heavily funded campaigns in the nation. The Republicans are going to throw a pile of money toward acquiring this senate seat but have no prospective candidate equal to Rehberg. Will the Republicans throw good money after bad? Of course.

If Schweitzer runs (with, say, Jim Messina as campaign coordinator) no one will touch him. Schweitzer's gun control stance will help him in Montana but will matter little in the Senate as Republicans will soon learn they cannot be re-elected without stricter gun control measures being enacted.

Pistol

Your correct the Republicans will go all out to win this seat. Racicot is best candidate but does he want to get into politics? Rehberg, even though he lost because of major outside money supporting a third party candidate is done. He can't beat Schweitzer. Racicot in debates would eat Schweitzer for lunch. Your wrong about gun control. Most people realize more gun restrictions won't solve the problem of mass murder. Boston was an example. Our society has so many internal problems, like lack of value of human life ,nothing will help but social change.

Chuck Feney
Chuck Feney

Cap'n Denny Reporting for Duty

In Montana a Ryan Leaf class loser
Who's also a Conrad Burns class boozer
Is testing the water
As to whether he ot'ter
Run for the Senate as a boating abuser!
______
C.U.F.

theorangedog

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chuck Feney
Chuck Feney

Just what does Denny plan to run on... his sterling legislative accomplishments, or his popularity with Billings' firefighters?
_________________________
Don't Even Think About It

Does Denny thinks his charisma's magnetic,
Or perhaps his instinct to lose is genetic?
In spite of his last disgrace,
He wants back in the race,
Which just makes him look ultra-pathetic.

If the Republicans run him again
They deserve to be tossed in the bin.
If he's all they've got,
Their chances are squat
'Cause "None Of The Above" gets the win!
______
C.U.F.

mtsky

Denny, please do us a favor and DO NOT run. Montana Republicans are sick of do-nothing good old boys like you. Montana Republicans are finally moving towards liberty and statemanship. Stay away, we have no interest in moving backwards. We're ready for the new generation, not the same old, tired wannabee cowboys.

brmoderate

Do us all a favor and don't run Mr. Rehberg.

mike1

I agree with the above 2 comments made--that Rehberg is as bad as Baucus, since both have been in Washington too long to represent any version of Montanan. Also, Juneau is not viable to defend us against the bad choices of Edmunds and the other Republican party line "not ready for prime time" candidate for national office.

chezi

Didn't he just state he was going to spend time with his family and retire from teh political arena? Hmmmmmmmmm

Deadwolf

Well blow me down! I can't imagine agreeing with "montanamuralist" but in this case I think he/she is pretty close to correct.

Springfield

I hope he doesn't run. We need a new person, not a career man.

montanamuralist
montanamuralist

If Schweitzer does not run then the seat goes Republican. Denise is a great lady but nothing to compare with Schweitzer. Just the truth. The other Democratic candidates are the same as those who run for the House seat, unknowns and don't have a chance. Rehberg will try again I bet.

AARGH

That's ALL we need! Another Career politician to replace the biggest joke in Senate history. Denny, do us all a favor and stay home, go boating or something else. We don't want another Rehberg Run... Signed, a Montana Conservative

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