Iowa caucus: Democrats to see more of Brian Schweitzer?

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer announced over the weekend that he will not run for U.S. Senate next year. His decision dismayed Democrats, because Schweitzer is proven as a statewide candidate and had an excellent chance to win retiring Senator Max Baucus’ seat. To all appearances, Iowa Democrats can expect to see more of the man who has long been considered a potential presidential candidate. Laura Zuckerman reported for Reuters yesterday,

“I’m not goofy enough to be in the House (of Representatives) or senile enough to be in the Senate, where things go to die. I don’t think they get anything done back there, and I’m a doer,” Schweitzer, 57, said.

Asked about the prospects for a White House campaign, he answered indirectly by referring to three states that have traditionally held the earliest primary elections or caucuses in the presidential race.

“I hold the people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in high regard,” he said. “If I were running for U.S. Senate, I’d be so goldarn busy I wouldn’t be able to get out and visit with my friends in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.”

I don’t think anyone can compete with Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2016. If she passes, the Iowa caucuses will be wide open, and I can see Schweitzer appealing to a lot of Democrats here. Please share your thoughts about his potential in the comments. I’d particularly like to hear from some Bleeding Heartland readers who attended the Harkin Steak Fry Schweitzer headlined in 2008. I missed the event that year.

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Democratic National Convention news and discussion thread

The Democratic National Convention opens tonight in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a tightly-packed schedule of speakers. Broadcast television networks will show only the last hour of prime-time speeches: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Congressional candidate Joaquin Castro of Texas, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Elaine Brye (a “military mother with four children serving in different branches of the armed forces”), and First Lady Michelle Obama.

O’Malley and several other possible future Democratic candidates for president are meeting with Iowa’s delegation in Charlotte this week. Details and other convention-related news are after the jump.

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Help us track future presidential candidates' Iowa visits

It’s never too early to start preparing for the next election. In September, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer headlined Tom Harkin’s Steak Fry.

Next month Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

will keynote a fundraising dinner for the Iowa Family Policy Center’s “Celebrating the Family” banquet, a high-profile Christian conservative event in a state pivotal in presidential races.

The governor’s spokeswoman, Melissa Sellers, confirmed that Jindal will attend the event November 22 and also will make a stop in the Cedar Rapids area to see some of the recent flooding damage there.

I’m keeping my eye out for reports like this, but if you hear about any Iowa visits planned by likely presidential candidates in 2012 or 2016, please post a diary here or e-mail me (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com).

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Harkin Steak Fry open thread

I forgot to put up a thread this afternoon for people who braved the chilly weather to show up at the Indianola balloon field.

If you were there, tell us what you thought of Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, or any other interesting thing you heard today.

Iowa Independent has a few stories and lots of photos from the event.

UPDATE: I’m not the biggest fan of Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge, but Council Bluffian wrote that she had the quote of the day at the steak fry, drawing a standing ovation:

“Sarah knows how to field dress a moose, but I know how to castrate a calf. The thing is, neither of those things have anything to do with this election.”

Lt. Governor Judge mentioned that despite the fact she has more practical animal husbandry credentials than Palin and more elected office experience, Senator Obama didn’t call her to be VP.

Senator Harkin came on stage and noted he was going to watch himself around Lt. Governor Judge from now on.

Hilarious.

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