DEMOCRATS didn’t see this one coming. It’s got the potential to hurt, with Brian Schweitzer a Democratic star who’s choice not to run just made 2014 a little brighter for Republicans.

From Politico:

Former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s surprise announcement Saturday that he won’t run for Senate in Montana imperils Democrats’ chances of holding the seat and could further narrow an ever-shrinking 2014 Senate map.

Already, Republicans are favored to win two seats left vacant by Democratic retirements “” in West Virginia and South Dakota “” and the Schweitzer move will make it much easier for the GOP to win in Montana.

That means the battle for the majority will likely be fought in a handful of red states with Democratic incumbents, including North Carolina, Arkansas and Alaska.

Max Baucus retiring made Brian Schweitzer’s chances good, even if Republicans are beating Democrats over the head with Obamacare in preparation for 2014.

Now what? How about females, with one name being floated is Emily’s List Stephanie Schriock. Like in Texas with Senator Wendy Davis, even if these women don’t prevail they win by running, as Jared Bernstein also explains, “flukes happen.” There are a lot of people out there who don’t vote and Wendy Davis is the kind of politician who can get them out, just maybe.

Putting the faces of more women into the public eye can only help get more women to take the chance on politics.

“Montana was never going to be an easy state for us to defend,” one high-placed Democratic source told Business Insider. “But Schweitzer is the much stronger candidate.”

They’ll now have to turn to other candidates. One source said that the potential list includes EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, State Superintendent Denise Juneau, and Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen.

A Public Policy Polling survey taken in late June showed that Schweitzer was the only possible Democratic candidate who consistently beat most of the possible Republicans. Schweitzer was viewed favorably by 54% of Montanans, compared with just 40% who viewed him unfavorably.

[Business Insider]

Joan McCarter gives the Democratic activist review on Brian Schweitzer’s announcement: “this sucks.”