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Calls to Arms Leads To Petition for Jeff Bridges To Run for Senate

Calls to Arms Leads To Petition for Jeff Bridges To Run for Senate

Following Montana Democrat Sen. John Walsh’s withdrawal from the state’s Senate race, some Democrats are attempting to draft Hollywood movie star (and Montana resident) Jeff Bridges as their nominee.

Mr. Walsh dropped out of the Senate race after the New York Times ran an article that showed large parts of a key academic paper by Mr. Walsh appeared to have been copied word-for-word from other sources.

The state’s Democrats are facing a time crunch, as they must nominate a standard-bearer at their convention on Saturday.

The State Democratic Party is slowly coalescing around Amanda Curtis, a one-term representative from Butte, who received the endorsement of the Montana Federation of Teachers.

But Libby Pratt, a Billings resident and business owner, said she is concerned that Ms. Curtis doesn’t have the name recognition to stand a chance against Republican nominee Rep. Steve Daines. During a jog on Friday, the idea hit her: Jeff Bridges. Famed for his role as “The Dude” in the Coen Brothers film “The Big Lebowski,” Mr. Bridges – a longtime Montana resident – was the only person in Ms. Pratt’s mind with enough money, name recognition and good will to put up a credible fight.

“We’re in the valley of death here, and I just thought, well here’s somebody who could run,” Ms. Pratt said. “He’s the only candidate where you could put up a nude photo of him or a photo of him smoking a joint, and he would get more votes!”

Ms. Pratt launched a Facebook page on Friday afternoon that has accrued more than 3,800 likes by late Tuesday.

Though Mr. Bridges is best known for his acting, he has long been supportive of Montana Democrats, having donated to former Gov. Brian Schweitzer and former Sen. Max Baucus. This past March, he and his wife, Susan, joined Montana’s current governor, Steve Bullock, to promote an anti-child hunger campaign.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Montana Democratic Party said: “While the Dude may abide, our State Central Committee, with input from the Democrats across the state, will determine our next U.S. Senate nominee in an open and transparent process.”

Mr. Bridges couldn’t be reached for comment. He hasn’t answered any direct questions about his candidacy, though in a Monday morning interview with radio-show host Howard Stern, he commented that his wife had put the kibosh on the idea.

“There’s a group of people that have called in and want me to run for senator of Montana, like 1,000 people,” the actor told Mr. Stern. “And I said, ‘Sue?’ And she looks at me and says, ‘Don’t even think about it.’”

But Ms. Pratt was not convinced. “What politician’s spouse has not said no when they first put the idea in front of them,” she said. “That was a trial balloon if I’ve ever seen one.”


By Michelle Hackman




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