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Montana Democratic Party Chairman Dennis McDonald will announce his final decision on whether to challenge Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) at his party’s annual dinner on March 21.

McDonald said in a phone interview that he has been traveling throughout the state for the past three weeks while considering his options.

“In fact, I visited 56 counties across the state and I’ve never seen the fear that’s been generated by the economic slowdown than I’ve witnessed over the past three weeks,— he said.

Democrats have tried to give Rehberg a strong challenge in previous cycles but with minimal success. In 2008, a little-known candidate defeated the party favorite in the primary and Rehberg effectively got a free pass for re-election.

If McDonald gets into the race, as expected, he could be the biggest name to challenge Rehberg in several cycles. McDonald has served as the chairman of the state party from 2005 until the present, a period in which Democrats won a Senate seat and Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) easily won re-election.

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