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GOP must win Senate in fall, Racicot says
The Billings Gazette.com ^ | 6-24-2002 | CHARLES S. JOHNSON

Posted on 06/24/2002 6:36:48 PM PDT by rmmcdaniell

HELENA - National Republican Chairman Marc Racicot told the Montana party faithful Saturday that it's critical for the GOP to regain control of the U.S. Senate to pass President Bush's agenda now stalled in the Democratic-controlled chamber.

"I think this is the most important election year of our lifetimes," Racicot, former two-term Montana governor, told an overflow luncheon crowd at the Montana Republican Party platform committee.

Racicot made his first official appearance in Montana since becoming GOP national chairman earlier this year. The former governor said he has made 45 trips to 30 states for the party the past five months.

He said the U.S. effort to provide leadership around the world "is absolutely critical," particularly after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Earlier in the day, Racicot endorsed state Sen. Mike Taylor, R-Proctor, the party's hope to knock off Democratic U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, seeking his fifth term.

At his luncheon speech, Racicot said didn't mention Taylor by name but said Bush strongly wants to see the Senate return to GOP control.

"There are deliberate efforts to block the advancement of good ideas into the marketplace," Racicot said, citing 50 bills that are part of Bush's agenda that have been blocked from Senate consideration.

Earlier, Racicot spoke at a private flying service's building and posed for photos and TV coverage with Taylor, who was flying to Kalispell for a debate with Baucus and two other candidates at the Montana Newspaper Association convention.

"We know how profoundly important it is for the president's agenda top be advocated," he said. "That has not been the case in the U.S. Senate." Democrats grabbed control of the Senate a year ago after Republican Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the GOP to became an independent. That left the Democratic Party with 50-49 margin in the Senate, while Republicans control the House.

Racicot said the national party believes that Montana is one state where a Democratic incumbent could be defeated. He pledged "as much energy and resources as we can muster." Racicot said Taylor, who has led legislative economic development efforts, would be able to work well with Bush, whose top priority is job creation.

Asked about Baucus, Racicot said, "Obviously he's been there for a very, very long time." Racicot said Montanans have wondered about Baucus' voting record, suggesting that he votes more conservatively only near election years.

"When it comes to advocating the agenda of the president, you're simply going to find Mike Taylor is there hour after hour, day after day," Racicot said.

Taylor, speaking to the breakfast crowd, made his sharpest attack on Baucus so far.

Taylor accused Baucus of voting not to put Montana first except during election years. He accused Baucus of voting "again and again, time after time, with Washington rather than Wibaux, with Boston rather than Bozeman and with California rather than Kalispell."

Given Baucus' voting record, "he must think economic development comes from raising taxes, supporting judges that block progress and from suckerfish rather than people," Taylor said.

In response, Baucus spokesman Bill Lombardi said, "It's a big shock for us that the Republican Party chairman has endorsed the Republican senatorial candidate. But Max is going to run on his record of working together to pass the largest tax cut in a generation, creating good paying jobs and preserving Social Security and Medicare."


TOPICS: Montana; U.S. Senate
KEYWORDS: baucus; election; montana; senate; taylor
I guess it wasn't important enough for him to give up his lucrative job as RNC chairman to challenge Baucus himself. The Montana senate race is the biggest lost oppurtunity for the GOP this election. Now Montana is likely to be stuck with Baucus for another six years. All is not lost though, Taylor could still pull through
1 posted on 06/24/2002 6:36:49 PM PDT by rmmcdaniell
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To: rmmcdaniell
I guess it wasn't important enough for him to give up his lucrative job as RNC chairman to challenge Baucus himself.

You've got it backwards, as I recall. Racicot got the RNC job only after the GOP failed to convince him to run for the Senate. Seems to me he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Racicot made his first official appearance in Montana since becoming GOP national chairman earlier this year. The former governor said he has made 45 trips to 30 states for the party the past five months.

Hmmmm.

2 posted on 06/25/2002 5:26:51 AM PDT by Coop
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