Montana Rep. Steve Daines showed no signs of haste as he trekked from his Cannon office late Wednesday afternoon to the Capitol for a last-minute vote.
So far, the freshman Republican has taken a similarly measured approach to his looming decision about whether to run for the Big Sky State’s open Senate seat, one of the top pickup opportunities for Republicans in 2014.
In an interview with CQ Roll Call, Daines said he hasn’t made a final decision and hasn’t set a timeline to make one.
With the retirement of Democratic Sen. Max Baucus and the decision by Democratic former Gov. Brian Schweitzer to pass on the race, Daines has emerged as a potential Senate frontrunner just six months into his first term in Congress. He may be the GOP’s best hope, and party leaders are encouraging him with donations from top-ranking senators.
“I think they see an opportunity in Montana,” Daines said in an interview. “They’ve been making a few phone calls and writing some checks.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell contributed $10,000 from his leadership PAC on May 17, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., gave $2,500 in June. More could have poured in following Schweitzer’s July 13 announcement, but it wouldn’t show up on Daines’ fundraising report until October.
Daines said he hasn’t done any polling yet, but he’s keenly aware of where he stands. As he crossed Independence Avenue, Daines accurately rattled off numbers from a recent Public Policy Polling survey.