Montana Democrats needed a savior to help them score an unlikely victory for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats.
Instead, they chose a radical revolutionary.
Amanda Curtis, a teacher from Butte, enters the Senate contest with the odds stacked firmly against her. She's facing a well-funded opponent in Republican Rep. Steve Daines, and joined the race about 80 days before the November elections.
As if those obstacles weren't enough, quickly released opposition research revealed Curtis boasts a past full of ideas and associations likely too toxic for many Montana voters.
Most troubling could be Curtis' association with Industrial Workers of the World, an international labor union. Participation in organized labor wouldn't be so notable, except the IWW holds extreme political views.
"Between these two classes, a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth," the group's mission statement says.
And some call the tea party extreme. Curtis wrote an article for the IWW's newsletter in 2008, and her husband is an active member of the group, according to a website of the labor union's Montana offshoot. The hits didn't stop there.
Montana Republicans quickly released a video mash-up of Curtis' most outrageous lines from a YouTube series she produced daily during the state's 2013 legislative session.
The brutal video features Curtis mocking Christian values, gun rights activists and those who see family as a most basic unit of government. She also suggested that opponents of Medicaid expansion and government-run healthcare with poor outcomes may have abnormal brains.
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Curtis appeared unfazed by the video.
"I'm not worried about anything being taken out of context in those videos, because they're the public record," Curtis told The Washington Post. "They're available for anyone to go back and see exactly what I said and in what context I said it."
The campaign year for Democrats has been a bumpy one, to say the least.
Longtime Sen. Max Baucus left the seat to take a job as ambassador to China. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock then tapped Lt. Gov. John Walsh, an Army veteran, to fill the void and take on Daines. Walsh left the race weeks ago after The New York Times revealed the appointed senator plagiarized much of his 14-page master's thesis.
At an Aug. 16 convention, Montana Democrats chose Curtis to carry the torch against Daines. But her campaign may not matter much. Election guru Larry Sabato rates the Montana race as "likely Republican" and the liberal Daily Kos website gives Curtis a 1 percent chance of winning.
For context, Montana supported Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama in the 2012 election by 13 percentage points. The state boasts, though, a Democrat in the governor's mansion. The state's other U.S. senator, Jon Tester, is also a Democrat.
Curtis' campaign did not reply to a request for comment.
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