I mentioned on Monday that Bozeman businessman Steve Daines is poised to launch his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign on Saturday.
Politico reported on the rumor earlier Tuesday evening:
Daines would not confirm his plans, but while traveling in Australia he told POLITICO by telephone that he is planning a political announcement Saturday.
He noted that he has already spoken to GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg, the state’s only House member and another potential Senate candidate, about his decision.
“Denny’s a very good friend. He represents Montana very well. I don’t think he’s sure what he’s going to do. He’s spent 10 years in the House, he’ll be a senior member in the House. That’ll be a better place to serve from where he’s been in the past. He’s got a pretty good role in the House in the majority,” Daines said.
Meanwhile, the Montana Democratic Party has accused Daines of running an illegal shadow campaign for Democrat Jon Tester’s U.S. Senate seat.
According to the Associated Press, the Democrats filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission accusing Daines of “running a shadow campaign using soft money from a Colorado political action committee.”
At issue is this YouTube ad by a Colorado-based group called Common Sense Issues, posted more than nine months ago. In it Daines attacks Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and appears on the screen as he states the fact that he’s a “fifth generation Montanan” and that he’s “disappointed with just how out of touch Max Baucus and Jon Tester are…” Well, see for yourself:
From the AP:
David Benson, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party, said the video essentially launches Daines’ campaign for the seat. The party’s complaint says the Bozeman businessman is more than $5,000 into his campaign and is beyond merely “testing the waters” for a political run.
If a challenger isn’t going to follow basic election laws as we fight for those Montana values, we’ll demand accountability,” Benson said.
Daines, of course, dismisses the Democrats’ complaint:
Daines maintained his non-candidate status Tuesday and suggested Democrats are trying to silence him with the complaint, which he said he has not yet seen.
“We’ve not received anything, other than from the media,” he told the [Billings] Gazette. “I’m curious that they’re talking to you before they’ve filed this with the FEC. I’m not even a candidate right now.”
Well, maybe not officially. But it’s pretty difficult to watch that ad and not see it as a campaign ad. And then there’s the YouTube channel, called MontanaNeedsSteve, where you can these non-campaign videos as well:
Whether we like it or not, campaign 2012 is in full swing as Republican try to cash in on the momentum of last week’s election. Are we in for another long, bitter election cycle?