Baucus Marries Former Staffer at Sieben Ranch

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – U.S. Sen. Max Baucus married his girlfriend in a small, casual ceremony Saturday evening at the historic Montana ranch run by his family.

The senator, 69, wed former state director Melodee Hanes, 54, in an event attended by family and close friends.

“We could not have asked for a more perfect day under the Big Sky to celebrate the beginning of our life together,” Baucus said in a statement to the Great Falls Tribune.

The senator’s spokeswoman, Kate Downen, told the Independent Record of Helena that it would be an outdoor ceremony near the hill where Baucus’ father, John, and his nephew, Philip, were buried. Philip Baucus was killed during combat in Iraq in 2006.

She said it would be a relaxed “jeans and boots affair.”

The senator’s office did not release a guest list, but several Montana media outlets reported that Air Force Two, carrying Vice President Joe Biden, landed in Helena earlier in the day.

A motorcade of state troopers, local deputies and Helena police officers led the way to the Sieben Ranch, north of Helena.

Baucus’ relationship with Hanes came under scrutiny in 2009, when he recommended her for Montana’s U.S. attorney post. She later withdrew her name from consideration and took a job with the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.

The couple planned a hiking trip in Glacier National Park in August as a honeymoon. Downen said the senator was expected back in Washington on Tuesday to work on a deal to increase the federal debt ceiling.

Baucus and his second wife, Wanda, divorced in 2009 after 25 years of marriage.

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