U.S. Sen. Max Baucus has been here before.
Back during the Clinton era, the Democrat faced a choice: support an assault weapons ban urged by a president from his own party and risk angering constituents who cherish their gun rights, or buck his party. He chose the ban, and nearly lost his Senate seat.
Now, as he begins his campaign for a seventh term, Baucus is facing a similar dilemma. For weeks, he has refused to clearly say which way he’d vote on an assault weapons ban. When pressed by The Associated Press, he said through a spokeswoman Thursday that he’d oppose it.
But that decision alone doesn’t settle the issue for his re-election campaign. His opponents are watching closely, eager to pounce as he navigates a series of other gun control proposals, including an expected call for universal background checks.