Report: Sen. Baucus set to retire – pick up opportunity for GOP?

Breaking news – via Politico:

Montana Sen. Max Baucus will not seek reelection in 2014, becoming the latest senior red-state Democrat to bail out of a potentially difficult reelection campaign, a senior Democratic official confirmed to POLITICO.

Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, had nearly $5 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter but was expected to face a tough fight in his GOP-leaning home state.

Democratic strategists say that former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a populist two-term statewide official, is leaning toward running for the open seat.
The retirement was first reported by The Washington Post.

Baucus joins colleagues Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Carl Levin of Michigan and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey in exiting the 2014 race. His Montana seat is likely to be one of the toughest on that list for Democrats to defend.

Baucus, as you may recall, is the Democrat Senator who made waves last week when he described the implementation of Obamacare – a bill of which he was the primary author – as a “train wreck”:

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said Wednesday he fears a “train wreck” as the Obama administration implements its signature healthcare law.

Baucus, the chairman of the chamber’s powerful Finance Committee and a key architect of the healthcare reform law, said he fears people do not understand how the law will work.

“I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” he told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a Wednesday hearing. “You and I have discussed this many times, and I don’t see any results yet.”

Baucus pressed Sebelius for details about how the Health Department will explain the law and raise awareness of its provisions, which are supposed to take effect in just a matter of months.

“I’m very concerned that not enough is being done so far — very concerned,” Baucus said.

Shoulda thought about that before you wrote such a monstrosity of a bill, Senator …

Anyway, not sure what potential GOP contenders for Baucus’ seat in Montana are out there, but you might want to put this one on your “2014 Must-Watch Races” list. The GOP has several opportunities for prime Senate pick-ups next year. If only they don’t screw it up.

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