Senate Race
12:35 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Finally, a Democrat announces a Senate bid, but who is he?

Screenshot of Dirk Adams taken from his campaign website
Screenshot of Dirk Adams taken from his campaign website

Montana political observers spotted their first Democrat to officially file for U.S. Senate Wednesday.

Dirk S. Adams, a Wilsall Rancher, told Lee Newspapers Reporter Mike Dennison he decided about a month ago to get into the race and that it’s his first time running for office.

Adams has a website up and running that looks very much in its preliminary stages. It does have a couple of quotes saying with the likes of “More Jobs should be ‘Made in America’” and “’Working’ and ‘Poor’ should not be words that appear together.”

Conservative radio host Aaron Flint reports on his website that Adams announced his run for Senate during the Yellowstone County Democrats weekly breakfast in Billings. Paul Van Tricht with the Yellowstone Democrats told Flint in an email that the 62 year-old Adams was born in Nebraska and raised in Texas. Van Tricht said Adams ranches 1,000 head of cattle and he also owns the Wilsall General Store and is the Director of the Montana Stockgrowers Association Research, Education and Endowment Foundation.

Adams himself has been tight-lipped about the bid so far. Mike Dennison said Adams declined to say why he’s running or how he plans to introduce himself to voters.

Adams has not returned multiple calls from Montana Public Radio seeking comment on the race.

Veteran Senator Max Baucus announced earlier this year he would not be seeking re-election to his seat in 2014. It was rumored for some time former Gov. Brian Schweitzer would run to hold that seat for Democrats but he declined, saying he didn’t want to leave Montana. That set off a wide search for a viable Democratic candidate. Several of the state’s top Democrats have declined to run, including Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau and State Auditor Monica Lindeen. Current Lt. Gov. John Walsh and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger have both indicated they are considering a run.

Montana Democratic Party Chief of Strategy John Bacino said the party does not specifically endorse candidates in the primary and would not say much about Dirk Adams. He does not think the party is having trouble finding candidates. He points out the seat held now by Max Baucus has been in Democratic control for 100 years.

"That's no anomaly," Bacino said. "Truly this party has spoken for Montanans for generations and I think nothing has changed in the last few years."

Republicans currently have two candidates running for the seat—former Billings State Senator Corey Stapleton and current Missoula State Representative Champ Edmunds. Freshman U.S. Congressman Steve Daines says he is thinking about the race and at this point would be considered by many to be the favorite to win.

Montana Republican Party Executive Director Bowen Greenwood says the GOP is very happy with their candidates in the race so far. He believes Democrats are not eager to jump into the race because they are the party in power now.

“So, it’s hard to find a Democrat to step forward in an atmosphere where people want something different from what they’ve been getting,” Greenwood said.