The surprise retirement of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) immediately swung attention to the state’s former Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer, who declined to say Tuesday if he would seek the job.
The two-term governor left office in January and would be the immediate front-runner for the Democratic nomination if he jumped into the Senate race.
For the last several months, Schweitzer said, he has been focused on an effort to take over the state’s financially struggling Stillwater mine as part of an investor group seeking to save its roughly 1,600 jobs. A shareholder meeting is set for May 2.
“I’ll look around once I climb that mountain,” Schweitzer said in a telephone interview. “There should be a pretty good view from there. I’ll look around and see what I do next.”
Schweitzer, who has had a prickly relationship with Baucus, was talked about as a possible primary opponent had the Montana senator run again. Schweitzer has also been discussed as a potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender.
Speaking from his home on Georgetown Lake in southwest Montana as he gazed out at the snow-capped mountains, Schweitzer suggested he was in no hurry to leave the state.
“There’s not a sound to be heard, unless it’s the howl of a wolf or the yip of a coyote,” he said. “Life is good. You can print that in the L.A. Times.”