Brian David Schweitzer (born September 4, 1955) is an American politician who served as the 23rd Governor of Montana from January 5, 2005, to January 7, 2013. Schweitzer served for a time as chair of the Western Governors Association as well as the Democratic Governors Association. He also served as President of the Council of State Governments.
|23rd Governor of Montana|
January 3, 2005 – January 7, 2013
|Preceded by||Judy Martz|
|Succeeded by||Steve Bullock|
Brian David Schweitzer
September 4, 1955
Havre, Montana, U.S.
|Education||Colorado State University, Fort Collins (BS)|
Montana State University, Bozeman (MS)
Schweitzer was born in Havre, Montana, the fourth of six children of Kathleen Helen (née McKernan) and Adam Schweitzer. His paternal grandparents were ethnic Germans from Kuchurhan in the Odessa Oblast (then in Russia, now in Ukraine); his maternal grandparents were Irish. He is a first cousin, once removed, of entertainer Lawrence Welk (Schweitzer's paternal grandmother was Welk's aunt).
Following his high school years at Holy Cross Abbey, Canon City, Colorado in 1973, Schweitzer earned his bachelor of science degree in international agronomy from Colorado State University in 1978 and a master of science in soil science from Montana State University, Bozeman in 1980.
Upon finishing school, Schweitzer worked as an irrigation developer on projects in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. He spent several years working in Libya and Saudi Arabia, and speaks Arabic. He returned to Montana in 1986 to launch a ranching and irrigation business in Whitefish.
Bill Clinton appointed Schweitzer to the United States Department of Agriculture as a member of the Montana USDA Farm Service Agency Committee, where he worked for seven years. While working for the USDA, he was appointed to the Montana Rural Development Board (1996) and the National Drought Task Force (1999).
In 2000, Schweitzer ran for the U.S. Senate to challenge Republican incumbent Conrad Burns. Burns faced a difficult re-election campaign. 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, Burns referred to Arabs as "ragheads". Burns soon apologized, saying he "became too emotionally involved" during the speech. Burns 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.
While Burns attempted to link Schweitzer with presidential candidate Al Gore, 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."
Schweitzer lost narrowly to Burns, with a 51% to 47% margin, despite being outspent two-to-one, and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore receiving just 33% of the vote in Montana the same day.
When incumbent Governor Judy Martz announced she would not run for re-election in 2004, Schweitzer announced his candidacy. His running mate was John Bohlinger, a Republican state senator. He won the general election by defeating Montana Secretary of State Bob Brown 50%-47%. Schweitzer won re-election to a second term by a landslide, 66%-33%, over Republican State Senator Roy Brown.
Both while campaigning and as Governor, Schweitzer became known for a folksy public persona. The Governor's dog, a Border Collie named Jag, regularly accompanied him on work days at the Capitol, as well as some other official occasions.
Schweitzer was known for his unsparing use of the veto, a power exercised 95 times during his tenure. He vetoed 74 bills in the 2011 legislature; none of which were overridden. For instance, in April 2011, Schweitzer made news with his unconventional use of a branding iron to publicly veto several bills passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. He denounced them as "frivolous, unconstitutional and just bad ideas" that were "in direct contradiction to the expressed will of the people of Montana."
He has endorsed an expansion of wind, solar, and biofuel technologies as well as a plan to turn coal into diesel fuel. Schweitzer has pointed out that Montana has had the highest ending fund balances in the state's history under his administration, with an average ending fund balance of $414 million. The average balance of the eighteen years prior was $54 million.
Schweitzer consistently held one of the highest approval ratings among governors in the nation, with polls regularly showing a rating of above 60 percent. Due to term limits in Montana, he was barred from running for a third term in 2012. As Governor, Schweitzer was an active member of the Democratic Governors Association. Prior to becoming chair, he served as the organization's vice chair, finance chair, and recruitment chair.
As governor, he supported and signed into law voluntary full-time kindergarten. Senate Bill 2, which passed during a special session of the legislature, created full-time kindergarten. Governor Schweitzer signed the bill May 17, 2007. Governor Schweitzer was instrumental in implementing, for the first time since the Constitutional Convention of 1972 called on the State to "recognize the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the American Indians", Indian Education for All funding. Indian Education for All was funded in House Bill 2 and signed into law by Governor Schweitzer on May 6, 2005.
As one of his first endeavors, Schweitzer proposed and passed the "Best and Brightest" scholarship program. This scholarship has given the opportunity to more than 2700 students to study at any of Montana's 2-or 4-year public colleges and universities, including community and tribal colleges.
A report released in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education showed Montana increasing the number of college graduates by 3.2% from 2009 to 2010 – more than double any other state. The national average was half a percent. A recent report by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news organization that is focused on producing in-depth education journalism, said that Montana, "raised the percentage of its 25- to 64-year-olds who have finished college by more than 6 percent over the last three years, the biggest improvement in the nation, during a time when the rest of the country barely edged up on this measure by 1 percent. Fifteen states actually lost ground."
Montana's electrical generation capacity increased more during his term as Governor than the previous 16 years combined. Schweitzer gained national attention for his focus on converting Montana's vast coal reserves into fuel, which he has said is one way to wean America off of foreign oil. Schweitzer was interviewed by 60 Minutes in late 2006 or early 2007 as well as by Charlie Rose (on March 7, 2007), regarding his work in this field. Schweitzer has been a catalyst for alternative energy development in Montana. The state had 1 MW of wind power online in January 2005; by the end of 2012 Montana was expected to exceed 600 MW of wind power.
Following General Motors' announced decision to terminate its contract with Columbus-based Stillwater Mining Company to procure palladium, platinum, and rhodium for use in automobiles to reduce air pollution, Schweitzer broke from the Democratic Party ranks to protest a perceived bias against Montana on the part of the Barack Obama Administration. He asked the administration to force GM, which was receiving an infusion of around $50 billion as part of the automotive corporation federal recovery plan, to honor its contract in a manner consistent with the "buy American" provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
According to Schweitzer and the mining company, the Montana mines operated by Stillwater are the only source of palladium and platinum outside South Africa and Russia. "When the American people find out that we have spent tens of billions of dollars to bail out General Motors and then they turn around and void a contract with Stillwater Mine, the only source of platinum, palladium and rhodium in the Western Hemisphere, and continues to buy that metal from the Russians and South Africans, they will be outraged", Schweitzer asserted.
On April 15, 2009, Schweitzer signed into law the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which became effective October 1, 2009. The law exempts firearms made and kept in Montana from Federal firearms regulations. It applies mostly to non-military types of firearms, along with ammunition and accessories such as silencers, provided that these items are manufactured in the state, and do not leave the state.
On May 3, 2006, Schweitzer granted posthumous pardons to 78 persons convicted of sedition during World War I for making comments that were critical of the war. These were the first posthumous pardons in Montana history, but the convictions had become notorious in recent years because Montana's sedition law had been one of the broadest and harshest of its time: one man went to prison for calling food rationing a joke, while others were targeted because they refused to physically kiss a U.S. flag or to buy Liberty Bonds. At a public ceremony attended by family members of the pardon recipients, Schweitzer said, "[i]n times when our country is pushed to our limits, those are the times when it is most important to remember individual rights."
Following the suicide of Iraq war veteran Chris Dana in 2007, Governor Schweitzer started the Yellow Ribbon Program. Schweitzer testified in Washington, D.C. saying, "the federal government does an excellent job at turning a civilian into a warrior, I think they have an equal responsibility in turning that warrior back into a civilian." More than 13% of adult Montanans are veterans. This program developed policies and procedures that each Montana guardsman would undergo to ensure that physical and mental health were documented before, during, and after deployment. Automatic enrollment into the Veterans Affairs system would also be required of guardsmen to ensure delivery of benefits entitled. Following its success in Montana, the Yellow Ribbon Program was implemented nationally, and is now a part of the National Defense Act.
The same year Schweitzer completed his term as Montana Governor he was named to the board of directors of Stillwater Mining Company on May 2, and subsequently chosen as non-executive Chairman on May 17, 2013.
While governor, Schweitzer was mentioned by some political pundits as being a potential running mate for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. He spoke in a prime time slot at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and gave a speech on American energy independence.
After leaving office at the end of 2012, Schweitzer has been mentioned as a possible candidate for president. In February 2013, the National Journal reported that he indicated he was leaning towards a run for president in 2016, as opposed to running for the U.S. Senate in 2014, which at that time would have meant challenging Democratic U.S. Senator Max Baucus in a primary race.
The focus changed in April 2013, when Baucus decided to retire. Soon thereafter, a Democrat associated with Schweitzer stated the former governor was leaning toward a bid in 2014. He was considered highly likely to run. Schweitzer made no firm commitment. After Baucus' announcement, he stated that he was concentrating on his current project of helping a dissident investor group take control of the Stillwater Mining Co. in south-central Montana. He subsequently became the chair of the Board of Stillwater Mine. When asked about the Senate race in June 2013, he publicly stated it was a difficult decision, and he was not sure he wanted to give up his post-political life on Georgetown Lake and take a substantial pay cut. However, Montana political analysts generally viewed him as considering a run.
In July 2013, Fox Business News ran a story about Schweitzer's alleged association with a Washington, D.C. based 527 organization called the American Sustainability Project (ASP) that raised significant sums of money for political efforts. Later, picking up on a newsblog analysis by a reporter for the Great Falls Tribune, The Huffington Post confirmed the story, pointing out an apparent conflict of interest in Dave Gallik, who at the time was also Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, serving as treasurer for the Montana-based Council for a Sustainable America.
The basis of the allegations in the original FEC reports was that the Montana-based group shared the same post office box as Franklin Hall, one of Schweitzer's political consultants. Hall stated that this was his personal post office box and appeared on his driver's license. Franklin Hall consulted with Schweitzer's 2008 campaign, Council for Sustainable America, American Sustainability Project as well as other political organizations. The 527 organization shut down in early 2010 and transferred $306,669 to the American Sustainability Project (ASP), a 501(c)(4). Assorted media outlets raised the question of whether these groups were a political vehicle for Schweitzer campaign efforts. The Great Falls Tribune was preparing to run a story on July 14 outlining the various organizations and how Schweitzer's associates were connected. On July 13, 2013, Schweitzer stated he would not run for the Senate seat in Montana in 2014.
In February 2015, Schweitzer stated that he has"no plans" to run for President in 2016. On October 23, 2015, Schweitzer announced his endorsement of former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley for President in 2016. He served as a national co-chair of the O'Malley campaign.
Schweitzer is known for his unfiltered talk and being prone to gaffes. In a June 2014 interview with the National Journal, he made headlines for controversial comments deemed offensive to Democrats, Republicans, women, Southerners and gays. In the interview, he referred to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein as a prostitute, saying: "She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, 'I'm a nun', when it comes to this spying!" He said that outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, married 25 years and father of three, set off his gaydar because southern men have effeminate mannerisms. Schweitzer apologized via Facebook on June 18, 2014, stating: "I recently made a number of stupid and insensitive remarks to a reporter from the National Journal. I am deeply sorry and sincerely apologize for my carelessness and disregard."
Schweitzer married Nancy Hupp in 1981. The couple began a family after returning to Montana, and are the parents of three children: Ben, Khai, and Katrina.
|Democratic||Brian Schweitzer (incumbent)||316,509||65.4||+15.0|
|Republican||Conrad Burns (incumbent)||208,082||50.6|
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Montana
| Democratic nominee for Governor of Montana
| Governor of Montana
| Chair of Democratic Governors Association
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.2004 Montana gubernatorial election
The 2004 Montana gubernatorial election took place on November 2, 2004 for the post of Governor of Montana. Democrat Brian Schweitzer defeated Montana Secretary of State Republican Bob Brown.2004 United States presidential election in Montana
The 2004 United States presidential election in Montana took place on November 2, 2004, and was part of the 2004 United States presidential election. Voters chose 3 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Montana was won by incumbent President George W. Bush by a 20.5% margin of victory. Prior to the election, all 12 news organizations considered this a state Bush would win, or otherwise considered as a safe red state. The state typically votes for Democrats at the state level, having two Democratic senators: Max Baucus and Jon Tester, as well as a very popular governor Brian Schweitzer. Montana has voted for the Republican presidential nominee in every election since 1964 except in 1992, when the state slightly preferred Democrat Bill Clinton to Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush.2008 Montana gubernatorial election
The 2008 Montana gubernatorial election was held on November 4, 2008 to elect the governor and lieutenant governor of the U.S. state of Montana. Incumbent Governor Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat who was elected to his first four-year term in 2004, was elected to a second term with 65.5 per cent of the vote. John Bohlinger, a Republican and the incumbent lieutenant governor, was once again Schweitzer's running mate, and was re-elected to a second term. The Republican nominee was Roy Brown, a member of the Montana Senate. Brown's running mate was businessman, and future U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator, Steve Daines.2008 United States gubernatorial elections
United States gubernatorial elections were held Tuesday, November 4, 2008 in 11 states and two territories. Prior to the election, eight of the total seats were held by Democrats and five by Republicans. Two governors were prohibited by term limits from seeking re-election in 2008.
These elections coincided with the presidential election, as well as the elections of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives and many local elections, state elections and ballot propositions.2012 Montana gubernatorial election
The 2012 Montana gubernatorial election took place on November 6, 2012, to elect the Governor of Montana. Incumbent Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer was term-limited and could not run for re-election to a third term.
Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock won the Democratic primary with 87% of the vote and former U.S. Representative Rick Hill won the Republican primary with 34% of the vote. In the general election, Bullock was victorious by 7,571 votes, taking 48.9% of the vote to Hill's 47.3%.2012 United States gubernatorial elections
United States gubernatorial elections were held in 12 states (including a recall election in Wisconsin on June 5) and two territories. Of the eight Democratic and four Republican seats contested, only that of North Carolina changed party hands, giving the Republicans a net gain of one governorship. These elections (except for Wisconsin) coincided with the presidential election on November 6, 2012.2014 United States Senate election in Montana
The 2014 United States Senate election in Montana took place on November 4, 2014, to elect a member of the United States Senate from Montana, concurrently with other elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections.
Democratic Senator Max Baucus, who had announced he would retire and not seek a seventh term in office, resigned from the Senate in February 2014 in order to accept an appointment as United States Ambassador to China. Democrat John Walsh, the Lieutenant Governor of Montana, who was already running for Baucus' seat when Baucus was named to the ambassadorship, was appointed to replace Baucus by Governor Steve Bullock.Walsh, who had won the Democratic primary, withdrew from the race on August 7, 2014, in the aftermath of allegations that he had plagiarized a term paper while attending the Army War College. Democrats selected Amanda Curtis, a state representative from Butte, to replace Walsh as the party's nominee at a convention in Helena on August 16.Daines defeated Curtis by a 57.9% to 40.0% with Libertarian Roger Roots winning 2.2%. Daines and Arkansas' Tom Cotton became just the 18th and 19th U.S. House freshmen to win U.S. Senate races over the last 100 years, and just the third and fourth over the last 40 years.2016 Florida Democratic primary
The 2016 Florida Democratic primary took place on March 15 in the U.S. state of Florida as one of the Democratic Party's primaries ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
On the same day, the Democratic Party held primaries in Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, while the Republican Party held primaries in the same five states, including their own Florida primary, plus the Northern Mariana Islands.2016 Iowa Democratic caucuses
The 2016 Iowa Democratic caucuses took place on February 1 in the U.S. state of Iowa, traditionally marking the Democratic Party's first nominating contest in their series of presidential primaries ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The Republican Party held its own Iowa caucuses on the same day.
Despite a late challenge, Hillary Clinton was able to defeat Bernie Sanders in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucus by the closest margin in the history of the contest: 49.8% to 49.6% (Clinton collected 700.47 state delegate equivalents to Sanders' 696.92, a difference of one quarter of a percentage point). The victory, which was projected to award her 23 pledged national convention delegates (two more than Sanders), made Clinton the first woman to win the Caucus and marked a clear difference from 2008, where she finished in third place behind Obama and John Edwards. Martin O'Malley suspended his campaign after a disappointing third-place finish with only 0.5% of the state delegate equivalents awarded, leaving Clinton and Sanders the only two major candidates in the race. 171,517 people participated in the 2016 Iowa Democratic caucuses.2016 Montana Democratic primary
The 2016 Montana Democratic primary was held on June 7 in the U.S. state of Montana as one of the Democratic Party's primaries ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The Democratic Party's primaries in California, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota were held the same day, as were Republican primaries in the same five states, including their own Montana primary. Additionally, the Democratic Party held North Dakota caucuses the same day.2016 New Hampshire Democratic primary
The 2016 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary took place on February 9. As per tradition, it was the first primary and second nominating contest overall to take place in the cycle. Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in the primary by a margin of more than 22% in the popular vote. Sanders claimed 15 delegates to Clinton's 9.It occurred on the same day as the Republican primary.John Bohlinger
John Bohlinger, Jr. (born April 21, 1936) is an American businessman and politician. He was the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Montana, having served from January 2005 to January 2013. Bohlinger ran for lieutenant governor as a Republican on a bipartisan ticket headed by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Schweitzer. Schweitzer and Bohlinger were elected governor and lieutenant governor in the 2004 election and both were reelected in the 2008 election. Due to term limits, they were unable to run in the 2012 election. While he began his political career as a member of the Republican Party, he is currently a member of the Democratic Party.Mike Wheat
Mike Wheat (born 1947) was a justice of the Montana Supreme Court from 2010 to 2017. He was appointed to the court in 2010 by Governor Brian Schweitzer to fill the vacated seat of Justice John Warner (judge).Political positions of Brian Schweitzer
Brian Schweitzer, the former Governor of Montana, has taken positions on many political issues through public comments and official acts. His political philosophy has been characterized by Nathan Daschle, the former executive-director of the Democratic Governors Association, as one that mixes "progressive values, populist rhetoric, and Western self-reliance". Brink Lindsey of the CATO Institute has referred to Schweitzer as a "liberaltarian" (a portmanteau of "liberal" and "libertarian") who espouses an "anti-NAFTA, Wal-Mart-bashing economic populism."Schweitzer is a member of the Democratic Party.Schweitzer
Schweitzer is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Albert Schweitzer, German theologian, musician, physician, and medical missionary, winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize
Anton Schweitzer, opera composer
Brian Schweitzer, former Democratic Governor of the US state of Montana
Darrell Schweitzer, American writer, editor and essayist
Douglas Schweitzer, Canadian politician
Edmund Schweitzer, electrical engineer, inventor
Edmund O. Schweitzer Jr., founder of E. O. Schweitzer Manufacturing
George K. Schweitzer, academic in chemistry and family history and local history
Georgia Schweitzer, former collegiate and professional basketball player
Jean Baptista von Schweitzer, German politician and poet
Jeff Schweitzer, American non-fiction author, scientist and political commentator
Johann Friedrich Schweitzer, Dutch-German alchemist
Louis Schweitzer (philanthropist), paper manufacturer
Louis Schweitzer (CEO), chairman and former CEO of Renault
Mary Higby Schweitzer, paleontologist
Paul A. Schweitzer (born 1937), American mathematician
Pierre-Paul Schweitzer, managing director of the International Monetary Fund
Scott Schweitzer, American soccer coach and former professional soccer player
Yoram Schweitzer, senior research fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security StudiesStan Jones (Libertarian politician)
Stan Jones (born January 13, 1943) is a Libertarian Party politician who has twice run unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in 2002 and 2006, and has run twice unsuccessfully for governor of Montana, in 2000 and 2004. The winner in 2000 was Republican Judy Martz, and in 2004 the winner was Democrat Brian Schweitzer. In 2002 the winner was Democrat Max Baucus. His loss in 2006 was his most significant, when he challenged incumbent Republican Conrad Burns and Democrat Jon Tester, and received 3 percent of the vote.Statewide opinion polling for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries
This article contains opinion polling by U.S. state for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries. For currency and accuracy, please note the specific dates for each polling as listed below.
For the significance of the earliest state votes, the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, see United States presidential primary – Iowa and New Hampshire. To know when any given state votes, see the timeline of primaries and caucuses.
Note: A statistical tie occurs when two data points from within a set are within twice the margin of error of each other. When adding polls remember to double the margin of error provided to see the true result.Steve Bullock (American politician)
Stephen Clark Bullock (born April 11, 1966) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 24th and current Governor of Montana since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, he has been Chairman of the National Governors Association since 2018, a bipartisan organization created to develop policy to improve state governments.Born in Missoula, Montana, Bullock is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and Columbia Law School. Bullock began his career working as the legal counsel to the Secretary of State of Montana before becoming the Executive Assistant Attorney General and acting Chief Deputy Attorney General of Montana. Bullock then entered private practice as an attorney for Steptoe & Johnson. He was also an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School before opening his own private law firm upon returning to Montana. In 2008, Bullock was elected Attorney General of Montana, where he served one term from 2009-13.
After incumbent Governor Brian Schweitzer was term-limited, Bullock declared his candidacy for the Governorship on September 7, 2011. He won with 87% of the vote in the Democratic primary election, and defeated the Republican nominee, former U.S. Representative Rick Hill, in the general election, with 48% of the vote.
In 2016, Bullock won re-election with 50.2% of the vote, defeating Republican nominee Greg Gianforte. He is a potential candidate for President of the United States in 2020, or, alternatively, a candidate for Senate in 2020.