Congressman Steve Daines officially announced his intentions Wednesday to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Max Baucus in 2014.
"Montanans fundamentally understand that our federal government is too big, it is too powerful, it spends too much and it interferes too often with our daily lives," Daines told the crowd of a couple hundred supporters at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman.
Daines has been in Congress for less than a year, after defeating Democrat Kim Gillan in 2012. But, he has long been seen as the strongest Republican candidate for the Senate Race. It has been widely expected he would switch to the Senate Race since former Gov. Brian Schweitzer said he would not be running this past summer.
Describing the race as a chance for Republicans to take control of the Senate, Daines said he would continue to fight to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to secure approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and to increase production of the state’s natural resources.
"The American people fired Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House in 2010, it's time we do the same thing to Harry Reid in 2014," Daines said.
Following the announcement, Daines stepped aside for a short interview with Montana Public Radio, where he was asked about his relationship to the Tea Party, his stance on tax increases requested as a part of upcoming budget talks, and how Obamacare could realistically be repealed:
Right now, two other Republican candidates are running for the Senate seat. State Representative Champ Edmunds had earlier said he would switch to the House Race if Daines switched to the Senate bid; but he later said he may stay in the Senate race, implying he would give voters a more conservative choice than Congressman Daines.
Lee Newspapers also reports that another, politically unknown, challenger has filed for Senate—David Leaser of Kalispell.
Tuesday night, former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger announced he would be jumping in the Senate Race as a Democrat. He joins politically unknown Wilsall-area rancher Dirk Adams and current Lt. Gov. John Walsh.
The Walsh campaign Wednesday released this video critical of their new Republican opponent: