HELENA — Just a few days after Amanda Curtis’ whirlwind campaign for U.S. Senate, she’s back to doing what she loves best.
“I tell you what there has never been a woman that was happier to go to work in the morning. I had such a great day,” she said Thursday about returning to Butte High School to teach math.
The 35-year-old who also served one-term as a state lawmaker stepped into the limelight in mid-August, agreeing to take the Democratic nomination after U.S. Sen. John Walsh withdrew from the race amid a plagiarism scandal.
Curtis didn’t have the time or the resources to mount a campaign to match Republican opponent Steve Daines. He won the seat that hasn’t been held by Republicans in more than a century on Tuesday, with about 58 percent of the vote to her 40 percent.
For 35 years, Democrat Max Baucus held the seat. He announced last year he would not seek a sixth term and then resigned in February to become ambassador to China.
Curtis has said she’s proud of herself and the effort put in by her team during the 80-day campaign, for which she took a three-month leave from her job. She said she traveled 11,000 miles throughout the state introducing herself to voters. Curtis also held her own in two debates against Daines and raised nearly $1 million. With that money she was able to launch two television ads in the final weeks before Election Day.
“I’m not worried about losing that race one bit. To tell you the truth, I was a little bit afraid I might actually win it,” Curtis said. “I’m feeling pretty good.”
She told Montana Public Radio this week her campaign got new voters to the polls and energized people who were not energized before.
Montana State University political analyst David Parker said previously Curtis was a long shot who was always going to have a challenge against Daines. However, the race should help promote Curtis’s brand for future elections, he said.
What Curtis plans to do with her newfound name recognition and campaign experience at this point remains a question.
Neither Curtis nor the Democratic Party will say if Curtis will run for future office. She told Montana Public Radio she’ll cross that bridge when she comes to it.
Democratic Party spokesman Bryan Watt said she’s going back to teaching — for now.
“She’s a hard worker and bright woman so she has a bright future,” he said.
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