United States Senate election in Montana, 2008

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United States Senate election in Montana, 2008
2002 ←
November 4, 2008 → 2014

  Max S Baucus.jpg
Nominee Max Baucus Robert Kelleher
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 345,937 128,762
Percentage 72.9% 27.1%

Montana Senatorial Election Results by county, 2008.png

County results

U.S. Senator before election

Max Baucus

Elected U.S. Senator

Max Baucus

The 2008 United States Senate election in Montana was held on November 4, 2008. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Max Baucus won re-election to a sixth term.


Montana generally gives its presidential electors to Republican candidates, but historically has elected several prominent Democrats to the United States Senate, including Thomas Walsh, Burton K. Wheeler, Mike Mansfield, and Lee Metcalf. Only two Republicans have ever served as U.S. Senator, Zales Ecton and Conrad Burns. In 2004, the state elected Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer, reversing a 16-year trend of electing Republicans to the Governorship. In the 2006 elections, the Republican Party took over the state House of Representatives in Montana, the only pick-up of a state legislature for the Republicans.

Democratic primary[edit]



Democratic Party primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Max Baucus (inc.) 165,050 100.00
Total votes 165,050 100.00

Republican primary[edit]


  • Kirk Bushman, businessman
  • Bob Kelleher, attorney
  • Michael Lange, State Representative
  • Patty Lovaas, accountant
  • Anton Pearson, rancher
  • Garnett Shay, engineer


All Republican candidates trailed Baucus badly in polls. Garnett Shay had legal problems, preventing him from running an effective campaign.[2]


Republican Party primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bob Kelleher 26,936 36.32
Republican Michael Lange 17,044 22.98
Republican Kirk Bushman 15,507 20.91
Republican Patty Lovaas 7,632 10.29
Republican Anton Pearson 4,257 5.74
Republican Shay Joshua Garnett 2,788 3.76
Total votes 74,164 100.00

General election[edit]



Senator Baucus defeated Kelleher as a Democratic incumbent running in a year that was very successful for his party in general. The Montana Senate race was somewhat unusual, in that it was perhaps the only race that year in which the Republican candidate was more liberal than the Democratic one. Kelleher, a perennial candidate and eccentric figure in Montana politics, took many positions that were highly unorthodox by GOP standards, such as favoring more liberal drug control policies, supporting universal healthcare and affirmative action, and favoring fair trade restrictions. He was, at the time, an 85-year-old attorney and perennial candidate who has run for office on several different party tickets. Kelleher is pro-life, advocates a Parliamentary system of government for the United States, and supports nationalization of the American oil and gas industry and a single-payer health care system.[4] He received no support from the Montana Republican Party.[5]


Poll Source Dates administered Baucus Kelleher
Public Policy Polling Archived 3 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine November 2, 2008 71% 26%
Rasmussen Reports[dead link] September 7, 2008 64% 31%


General election results[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Max Baucus 348,289 72.92% +10.18%
Republican Bob Kelleher 129,369 27.08% -4.65%
Majority 218,920 45.84% +14.84%
Turnout 477,658
Democratic hold Swing

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Max Baucus
Montana U.S. Senate elections
Succeeded by