Montana gubernatorial election, 2004

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Montana gubernatorial election, 2004
Montana
2000 ←
November 2, 2004 → 2008

  MTGovBrianSchweitzer.jpg
Nominee Brian Schweitzer Bob Brown
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 225,016 205,313
Percentage 50.44 46.02

04MTGovCounties.PNG

County Results

Governor before election

Judy Martz
Republican

Elected Governor

Brian Schweitzer
Democratic

The 2004 Montana gubernatorial election took place on 2 November 2004 for the post of Governor of Montana. Democrat Brian Schweitzer defeated Montana Secretary of State Republican Bob Brown.

Democratic primary[edit]

Democratic candidate Brian Schweitzer

Brian Schweitzer, a farmer from Whitefish, began campaigning for the Democratic nomination over a year before the primary.[1] He had narrowly lost the Senate race to Conrad Burns in 2000. In February 2004 he announced that liberal Republican state senator John Bohlinger would be his running mate for the post of Lieutenant Governor. This would be the first bipartisan gubernatorial team since the Montana Constitution was amended in 1972 to require Governors and Lieutenant Governors to run as a team.[2]

In March 2004 John Vincent, a former speaker of the Montana House of Representatives entered the race and criticised Schweitzer for taking both sides on some issues.[1] In the end Schweitzer easily won the Democratic primary. Three days after the primary Schweitzer addressed the Montana Democratic Convention, gave a bear hug to his defeated rival, and said he would bring a new kind of leadership to Montana.[3]

Democratic primary results[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brian Schweitzer 68,738 72.51%
Democratic John Vincent 26,057 27.49%
Totals 94,795 100.00%

Republican primary[edit]

Incumbent Governor Judy Martz had a difficult term of office with her approval ratings as Governor going as low as 20%. In August 2003 she announced she would not run for re-election as she wanted to spend more time with her family.[5][6] Lieutenant Governor Karl Ohs was expected to enter the Republican primary race but decided not to.[5]

Montana Secretary of State Bob Brown, conservative businessman Pat Davison and State Senators Ken Miller and Tom Keating competed for the nomination. Brown was seen as the favorite in the primary but was attacked by Pat Davison for being 'liberal on taxes.' Brown was the only one of the candidates who refused to sign a pledge not to raise taxes as he said he wanted to keep all options open as Governor.[7]

Republican primary results[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bob Brown 43,145 39.15%
Republican Pat Davison 25,319 22.98%
Republican Ken Miller 24,313 22.06%
Republican Tom Keating 17,421 15.81%
Totals 110,198 100.00%

General Election[edit]

Campaign[edit]

In mid summer polls showed Schweitzer had a 10-point lead over Brown,[8] but by October the gap had closed to only 4 percent.[9]

Schweitzer campaigned with plans to lift Montana from its position at the bottom of all 50 states in wages. He called for new uses to be found for crops like mint and for small businesses to pool in purchasing health care.[10] He also supported opening the border with Canada to allow consumers to get cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.[11]

Brown said that the Democrats harmed business growth and job creation.[12] He touted his government experience including 26 years in the Montana legislature and accused Schweitzer of taking hypocritical stands.[13]

Schweitzer won the election to become the first Democrat in 20 years to win an election for Governor.[13] According to the exit polls Schweitzer obtained two-thirds of the vote from over 65s and from independent voters.[14] This was despite President George W. Bush winning Montana very easily over John Kerry.

Statewide Results[edit]

Montana gubernatorial election, 2004[15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Brian Schweitzer 225,016 50.44% +3.35%
Republican Bob Brown 205,313 46.02% -4.97%
Green Bob Kelleher 8,393 1.88%
Libertarian Stanley Jones 7,424 1.66% -0.27%
Majority 19,703 4.42% +0.51%
Turnout 446,146 69.9 +11.2%
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

References[edit]

See also[edit]