Rumors that University of Montana Executive Vice President Jim Foley would take a run at Congressman Denny Rehberg in 2008 have been drifting in the ether of Montana political prognostication since early March. It was then that the Washington, D.C.-based insider political newspaper Roll Call mentioned Foley’s name among potential Democratic challengers to Rehberg, who has enjoyed four terms as Montana’s sole representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. Foley, a former longtime aid to both Rep. Pat Williams and Sen. Max Baucus, hasn’t dismissed the idea of a run, though he hasn’t indicated if and when he’ll announce a decision.
A number of current and former Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) officers and senators have grabbed onto that thread of possibility and are now weaving it into a campaign to draft Foley for the 2008 Congressional race.
Earlier this month former ASUM Business Manager Bryce Bennett and former ASUM President Andrea Helling started a “Draft Foley ’08” page on the popular social networking website facebook.com.
“As members of ASUM we got a chance to work closely with Vice President Foley and it seemed like the more we got to know about the work he did for students and for Montanans, the more and more we were impressed,” says Bennett.
Of the 86 members of the Draft Foley ’08 group, at least 19 are current or former ASUM executives and senators.
“He has a really good rapport with students. I think that’s important after seeing what happened with Jon Tester’s up-swell of student support,” says former ASUM Senator James Greer.
“We’re going to be having some meetings with interested people in the next couple of days to plan out the next steps we want to take,” says Bennett, the group’s informal coordinator. “We really want to get this done, so we’re going to work hard to do it.”
Given Foley’s apparent popularity with student leaders, it’s no wonder he answers questions about returning to politics this way: “I’ve got a great job.”