Actions

A brief history of Montana's US Senate seats

Posted at 4:07 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 20:48:16-05

The race for Montana's Class 2 Senate seat is making headlines across the country, and it’s the most expensive in state history.

Let's take a look at the seat’s more than 100-year legacy - it starts with a man who lived in Helena: Thomas C. Power, a businessman originally from Iowa, who was elected to represent Montana - the nation’s 41st state. He held that seat from 1890 to 1895.

Including Power, 12 men have filled Montana's Class 2 senate seat over the years - four Republicans and eight Democrats.

Probably the most notable is Democrat Max Baucus, who held the seat for nearly 36 years. He represented Montana in the Senate from 1978, until he was unanimously confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to China in 2014.

Why is the Senate so important? It’s part of the legislative branch, established by the Constitution. Unlike the House of Representatives, which is filled according to each state's population, each state has two Senators, no matter the population size.

As a whole, Congress has the sole authority to make laws and declare war.

The Senate has the specific power to ratify treaties, and approve Presidential appointments the require consent, like what we just saw with new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

As we look at this year’s record-breaking race for Montana's US Class 2 Senate seat, remember its history stretches back more than a century, to right here in Helena.