2000 United States Senate election in Montana
The 2000 United States Senate election in Montana was held November 7, 2000. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Conrad Burns won re-election to a third term. As of 2019, this is the last time the Republicans have won the Class 1 Senate Seat from Montana.
Burns: 40-50% 50-60% 60-70% 70-80% 80-90%Schweitzer: 50–60% 60–70% 70–80%
- Brian Schweitzer, farmer and former United States Department of Agriculture employee
- John Driscoll, former Speaker of the Montana House of Representatives
- Conrad Burns, incumbent U.S. Senator
|Republican||Conrad Burns (incumbent)||102,125||100.00|
- Sam Rankin
- Conrad Burns (R), incumbent U.S. Senator
- Gary Lee (Re)
- Brian Schweitzer (D), farmer and former United States Department of Agriculture employee
Burns faced a surprisingly difficult reelection campaign in 2000. In February 1999, he announced that he would break his 1988 promise to only hold office for two terms, claiming "Circumstances have changed, and I have rethought my position." Later that same month, while giving a speech about U.S. dependence on foreign oil to the Montana Equipment Dealers Association, he referred to Arabs as "ragheads". Burns soon apologized, saying he "became too emotionally involved" during the speech.
Burns faced Brian Schweitzer, a rancher from Whitefish, Montana. While Burns attempted to link Schweitzer with presidential candidate Al Gore, whom Schweitzer never met, Schweitzer "effectively portrayed himself as nonpolitical". Schweitzer primarily challenged Burns on the issue of prescription drugs, organizing busloads of senior citizens to take trips to Canada and Mexico for cheaper medicine. Burns charged that Schweitzer favored "Canadian-style government controls" and claimed that senior citizens went to doctors to have "somebody to visit with. There's nothing wrong with them." Burns also faced trouble regarding deaths from asbestos in Libby, Montana. While he initially supported a bill to limit compensation in such cases, he withdrew his support for the bill, under public criticism, and added $11.5 million for the town to an appropriations bill.
Burns spent twice as much money as Schweitzer on the election and only defeated him by a slim margin, 51-47 percent, while the state voted 58-33 percent for Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush. Schweitzer went on to become governor in 2004.
- Complete video of debate, October 10, 2000
- Complete video of debate, October 16, 2000
- Complete video of debate, October 21, 2000
|Republican||Conrad Burns (incumbent)||208,082||50.55%||-11.82%|
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-28. Retrieved 2014-07-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Reform candidate blasts corporations". Billingsgazette.com. October 13, 2000. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- George Will, "...Terms Unlimited", The Washington Post, June 24, 1999
- Al Kamen, "Burns's A List: African Americans, Arabs", Washington Post, March 12, 1999.
- Michael Barone, The Almanac of American Politics 2004, National Journal Group.
- William Booth, "Mont. Rancher Mounts Brawny Challenge; Crusty GOP Incumbent Finds Race Tightening Against an Equally Rough-Hewn Opponent", Washington Post, October 31, 2000
- Al Kamen, "Town Getting $ 11 Million in Salve From Burns", Washington Post, May 12, 2000.
- "2000 ELECTION STATISTICS". Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved August 15, 2012.