Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Do Montanans Care Where Their Senators Are Born?

Bookmark and Share

Democrats are stirring the pot after statements by 2014 hopeful Steve Daines raise questions about the depth of his connections to the Treasure State

stevedaines10.jpgMontana Republican Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Steve Daines has made national news after Democrats began to needle him about his home state roots.

Democrats are questioning Daines' assertion that he is a fifth-generation Montanan and have subsequently asked for him to release his birth certificate.

Where the first-term U.S. Representative was born is not at issue: Van Nuys, California in 1962.

But although Democrats are suggesting Daines has exaggerated the extent of his familial ties to the state, his California birth hardly makes him a carpetbagger (Representative Daines spent most of his childhood in Bozeman where he graduated from high school and attended Montana State University).

That said, not every Montanan may know Daines was born out of Big Sky Country and - with Democrats insisting he produce his birth certificate - that fact is certainly getting more play.

Even still - Daines' purported embellishments aside - how much do Montana voters care where their U.S. Senators are born?

Overall, just five of 22 Montana U.S. Senators in state history were born in Montana.

Montana is not unlike many western states which found most of its Senators during its first several decades since statehood to be born elsewhere only to later migrate to the Treasure State.

In fact, Montana had been a state for 71 years before its first home-grown Senator was elected into office - Democrat Lee Metcalf in 1960.

Dating back to the passage of the 17th Amendment, slightly more than one third of Montana's U.S. Senators were born within the state (five of 14).

Three of these were elected into office (Democrats Metcalf, Max Baucus, and Jon Tester) and two were appointed (Democrats Paul Hatfield and current Senator and likely 2014 nominee John Walsh).

Western states hold nine of the bottom 10 slots for the lowest percentage of home-born U.S. Senators in the nation during the direct election era, with Montana coming in at #42 with 35.7 percent.

Washington has imported the most such officeholders with just 18.8 percent born in the state.

Colorado (28.0 percent), Alaska (28.6 percent), Nevada (30.0 percent), New Mexico (31.3 percent), Wyoming (31.6 percent), Idaho (35.0 percent), Oklahoma (35.3 percent), and Arizona (36.4 percent) round out the bottom 10.

Montana had not been represented by two Treasure State-born U.S. Senators until after Jon Tester upset three-term Missouri-born Republican incumbent Conrad Burns in 2006.

With Tester's reelection victory in 2012 and the appointment of Walsh earlier this month after Baucus resigned to become the U.S. Ambassador to China, that streak has now continued for seven-plus years.

Past election cycles have shown being a Montana-born U.S. Senate nominee does not guarantee success on Election Day.

Here is a partial list of those who fell short of victory (with some losing to those born out of state and some to fellow Montana-born nominees): Orvin Fjare (1960), Alex Blewett (1964), Larry Williams (1978, 1982), Allen Kolstad (1990), Brian Schweitzer (2000), Mike Taylor (2002), Denny Rehberg (1996, 2012).

Of course, many of those nominees also lost to incumbents - a far greater predictor of electoral success than where one was born.

In addition to the five Montana-born U.S. Senators, the state has imported three from Iowa (Zales Ecton, Doc Melcher, Thomas Power), two from Missouri (Conrad Burns, Henry Myers), two from New York (Mike Mansfield, Wilbur Sanders), two from Wisconsin (John Erickson, Thomas Walsh), two from out of the country (James Murray from Canada and Lee Mantle from England), and one each from Maine (Paris Gibson), Massachusetts (Burton Wheeler), North Carolina (Joseph Dixon), Ohio (Thomas Carter), and Pennsylvania (William Clark).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Debbie Dingell Eyes Historic Win in 2014
Next post: Will 2016 GOP Convention Boost Nominee in Host City's State?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting