HELENA – Republican state Rep. Champ Edmunds of Missoula – who has said he’ll run for Montana’s U.S. House seat if its current occupant, Republican Steve Daines, runs for the Montana’s open U.S. Senate seat – says now he may remain as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Early this year, Edmunds became the first Republican to declare himself a candidate for the seat held by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.
But after Baucus announced in April he would not run for re-election in 2014, Daines, who was elected to the U.S. House last year, said he would consider running for the Senate seat. Edmunds said then if Daines chose to run for the U.S. Senate, he would drop from the Senate race and run for the then-open U.S. House seat in 2014.
Yet Edmunds said in a news release Sunday night that as he’s listened to reaction in Montana “to what has transpired in Washington, D.C., I am forced to rethink my previous offer.”
Daines voted last week with House Democrats and 86 other Republicans to end the government shutdown and pass a short-term budget deal worked out in the U.S. Senate.
Daines initially voted with the U.S. House Republican majority in early October to demand repeal of or changes in the Affordable Care Act before a budget bill would pass. He has faced criticism from some conservatives for his Oct. 13 vote in favor of the final deal.
Edmunds, who did not return telephone messages seeking further comment, said in his release that he was a “proven conservative,” and that Montanans “deserve a senator who will vote to protect their freedom and not expand government.”
Daines has raised more than $1 million in campaign funds and most Republican insiders in Montana expect him to run for Baucus’ U.S. Senate seat. He has not publicly declared his plans for 2014.
Several Republicans and one Democrat have already said they’re running for Daines’ House seat next year.