Apr 23, 2013 11:59 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News

Schweitzer comments on Baucus retirement

HELENA - Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) says it's no surprise that Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) is retiring.

"Max has served in the U.S. Senate longer than any body in the history of Montana," Schweitzer said in an interview. "Nobody who lives in Montana can blame him for wanting to spend more time in Montana."

Many national news organizations have been speculating that Schweitzer would run for the Senate in 2014. In fact, there was even a website launched Tuesday where Montanans could sign a petition and encourage Schweitzer to run.

But Schweitzer says that's not his focus right now. "I am focused like a laser trying to save 1,700 jobs at the Stillwater Mine," Schweitzer said.

Schweitzer and The Clinton Group filed a formal notice in March, announcing they are planning on taking over management of the palladium and platinum mine near Billings.

Schweitzer says the shareholders will vote on the new Board of Directors on May 2, and after that he will take a look at what's next for him.

Senator Baucus' office has not yet confirmed his retirement. However, the Washington Post cites to two senior Democratic strategists familiar with his plans as saying Baucus is "retiring rather than seek re-election in 2014."

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