He has had SO many breaks, partly due to his wealthy family. When he first ran in 1978, he may have lost to state Senator Henry Hibbard (who was almost elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972), but Hibbard died in a plane crash. Baucus also ould have been unseated in 1984 if then Secretary of State Jim Waltermire had run, but he raised a ton of money and Waltermire ducked out. And Denny Rehberg didn’t run in 2002.
And they said that Ronald Reagan was made of teflon.
Denny Rehberg lost narrowly to Baucus in 1996, but that was before Rehberg had the name ID he has now. Perhaps, Bob Keenan could make another go at the Senate.
Seems like untimely deaths were a near-epidemic in the state to wipe out political opponents.
Oddly enough, Secretary Waltermire died in a plane crash in 1988 while campaigning for the GOP nomination for Governor. Some conspiracy theorists claim it was deliberate and alleged certain elements in MT politics were protecting international drug trafficking (specifically accusing Marc Racicot when he worked in the AG office) and that Waltermire was going to blow it wide open. Too make matters even more peculiar, Chet Blaylock, Racicot’s future Dem gubernatorial opponent, also died during campaigning (supposedly, right before he was going to publicly raise issues against Racicot).
I take no position on the validity of the claims, but there have been odd allegations made against Racicot for some time (including one of setting up his boss for a DUI, the incumbent AG in the ‘80s, who was in the way of Racicot’s rise). Maybe it all was coincidence. Maybe it wasn’t (noteworthy was that Racicot was Dubya’s top pick for Attorney General, and he didn’t end up with the job — the public excuse was his social liberal views, but I’m sure some of these allegations would’ve been a fiasco for the administration early on if aired publicly — that might also be a reason why Racicot has never run for the Senate, too, against Baucus. They probably all have dirty laundry on one another).