The Democrats' New Western Stars

Joe Klein looks at the Democratic revival in the Rocky Mountains, where a raft of colorful candidates are winning over independents — and even some Republicans

Kurt Markus for TIME

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer poses at a fencepost on a working cattle ranch belonging to a friend.

The below article was corrected on January 19, 2007.

A week before the 2006 elections, I found myself in a holding room with a posse of prominent Colorado Democrats waiting to stage a rally in the city of Pueblo. Almost all of them were in full western regalia--cowboy hats and boots, blue jeans, western shirts and jackets, string ties or no ties at all. These were large people, as Westerners tend to be, and they were not shy. Several noted my rumpled, Eastern aspect and took pity on me. "We've got to get you some boots," said Bill Ritter,...

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