Brian Schweitzer, the charismatic former two-term governor of Montana, disappointed Democrats when he opted not to run for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. People assumed he also wouldn’t run for president.
Now that appears wrong. In fact, Mr. Schweitzer has suggested he might run even if Clinton does, as a populist alternative. In November 2013, he said that visiting all 99 Iowa counties is on his “bucket list,” as sure a sign as any that he may go for it.
On Jan. 6, 2014, Schweitzer told MSNBC that running “would ruin my life” – then talked about why he’d be a good president: his budget surpluses as governor, his tax cuts, his investments in education. “If a Democrat is good with money, you can’t beat him,” he said.
If Schweitzer runs, it would be as the anti-Obama. In another MSNBC interview, he had nothing nice to say about the president or his programs. “They’re not very good at running things,” he said. He also isn’t terribly complimentary of Clinton.
Schweitzer’s politics are hard to pigeonhole. He favors a single-payer health-care system, a progressives’ dream. But he also favors the Keystone XL pipeline and has an “A” rating with the National Rifle Association. Once a rancher, he’s now a mining executive.
As governor from 2005 to 2013, Schweitzer built a nationwide network by serving as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and the Western Governors’ Association, as well as president of the Council of State Governments.
But he still has a low national profile among voters, and would have his work cut out for him on fundraising.