State Rep. Champ Edmunds on Thursday became the second Republican to officially enter the U.S. Senate race in his party’s bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Max Baucus.
Edmunds, now in his second term representing House District 100 in the Legislature, announced his candidacy at Bitterroot Motors, saying it was here that he landed his first job after moving to Missoula.
“People all over our nation are looking for opportunity,” Edmunds said. “The overregulation and overreach in Washington, D.C., are killing our country. We must rein in overregulation if we want our country to remain a world leader.”
In announcing his candidacy, Edmunds joined former state lawmaker and GOP gubernatorial candidate Corey Stapleton in his party’s primary contest to face Baucus in November 2014.
If sent to Washington, Edmunds pledged to pass a balanced budget amendment, prohibit legislative riders and reduce the size of the federal government.
“In Montana, we’re required to have a balanced budget,” Edmunds said, speaking of his experience in the Legislature. “We don’t allow riders. Changing those two things alone in Washington, D.C., would solve most of the problems we have there.”
Edmunds was elected to the Montana Legislature in 2010. He was reelected in 2012 and is now a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Edmunds made passing reference to his facial paralysis, saying it taught him to be a fighter. He joined the Navy and has two children, one of whom also has joined the service.
“Max has served this country for nearly 40 years, and I wish him well,” Edmunds said. “But to everything there’s a season, and this is the season for remembering what brought us here. It’s a time to remember our foundations and it’s a time to get back to basics.”
Edmunds will face Stapleton in the GOP primary in early 2014. Stapleton served as a state senator from Billings from 2001 to 2008 and was Senate minority leader in the 2007 Legislature. He finished second last year in a seven-way GOP primary for governor, losing to Rick Hill.
Facing Stapleton in the spring primary, Edmunds pledged to run a clean race.
“Let’s remember the 11th commandment – thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican,” he said. “Let’s keep it clean and let the people make a decision on who they want to go on through the primary.”