California could be cash cow for Brian Schweitzer

As former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer considers whether to run for the U.S. Senate seat from which fellow Democrat Max Baucus will retire next year, you can be sure that Californians and Schweitzer are preparing to rekindle their campaign-finance romance.

Brian SchweitzerWhile running for his second gubernatorial term in 2008, Schweitzer raised at least $137,000 in the Golden State – and that was for a contest that didn’t affect the national balance of power as this 2014 Senate race could.

Among the almost 300 California donors to Schweitzer’s 2008 campaign were entertainment figures such as Rob Reiner, Larry David, Michael Keaton and Casey Kasem; tech and venture capital figures like Steve Silberstein and Andrew Rappaport; Obama bundlers Wade Randlett, Steve Spinner, John Emerson and Nancy Koppelman; and other politically connected folks such as retired appeals court judge William Newsom, our lieutenant governor’s father.

Baucus’ announcement that he won’t seek a seventh term in 2014 has Democrats across the nation signing petitions, working social media and otherwise excited about Schweitzer’s potential candidacy. Baucus just incurred liberals’ wrath April 17 when he was one of four Senate Democrats to vote against the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases; alas for those angry liberals, Schweitzer is pretty solidly opposed to gun control, too.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    If you give money to a politician, it’s 100% certain they will ask for more. Then they will tell their friends what a sucker you are & their friends will hound you endlessly.
    In my old age, I vote for the candidate who raises the least amount of money. Better yet. I vote against any person, cause or committee that telephones me.

  • RR senile columnist

    Bruce, looks like I can count on your support.

  • Elwood

    Mine too.

  • John Lovell

    I am a huge fan of Brian Schweitzer. He and Sherrod Brown are at the top of my list.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Wikipedia sure likes Brian Schweitzer. He sounds like a better Senator than California has.

  • Elwood

    @ 5 Bruce

    That don’t take much.

  • JohnW


    Somebody like Schweitzer would be a nice change of pace for California. If he is elected to take Max Baucus’s U.S. Senate seat, that will be a big upgrade for Montana. They will then have two excellent senators, John Tester and Brian Schweitzer. When these guys have policy views that might be at odds with what the polls say back home, they don’t just back off. They find some folksy way to explain and sell their positions.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    @7. Like Ronald Reagan? He could sell Borax products. The problem with California is, someone like Reagan would not be elected in California today. Too liberal for many Republicans. So we are stuck with the Democrats with the most name recognition, as long as they are able to speak.

  • JohnW


    I don’t think Reagan’s style of political salesmanship would be very effective in this day and age. I’m a Democrat who, with only two exceptions, has always voted that way for federal offices. But, when it comes to state and non-partisan local offices, I vote for whomever I think can make the trains run on time (not the high speed rail trains). I would love it if the Republicans could get off this right-wing theocracy kick and field some decent candidates for state offices. Where’s our Chris Christie? We need political parties who know how to govern when they are in the majority and how to engage as the loyal opposition when in the minority. If Maldonado runs against Jerry Brown, I would probably vote for him. But I doubt he can get the GOP nod.