HELENA – Republican Larry Williams, the author and futures trader who lost races for the U.S. Senate in 1978 and 1982, is considering moving back to Montana and running for the Senate next year.

Williams, a Montana native who now lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands, said he spent the summer in the Red Lodge area. Some old friends and former campaign workers called him to talk about running for the open Senate seat created by longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’ retirement in 2014.

“There’s some interest on my part,” Williams said in a telephone interview Friday. “I talked to some people. It’s such a change in lifestyle to go from here to there. I think the general election is open to whatever Republican wins the primary.”

Williams has not been active in Montana politics here since losing the two Senate races. In 1978, Baucus, then a congressman, won his first term in the Senate against Williams. Four years later, then-U.S. Sen. John Melcher defeated him.

These days, Williams may be best known for being the father of actress Michelle Williams, who has been nominated for an Academy Award for best actress. He has four other children.

He’s written 11 books, primarily on stocks and commodities trading.

First-term U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., is expected to run for the Senate, but has not yet revealed his plans.

Williams said Daines started politics as a college student working on his 1982 campaign.

“He’s a really smart guy,” Williams said of Daines. “Should he stay in Congress another term or two? That’s his call.”

Williams said among his assets is he has lived all over the world and formed many business partnerships in different countries.

“You really have to conclude you can do a better job than the other person,” Williams said. “I really need to figure can I do that.”

He intends to travel to Washington, D.C., for a couple of weeks in October and will decide later that month.

“I’m trying to get all the tumblers in place to decide to do it or not,” he said. “Steve’s not in the equation. A question is whether I’d do a better job and be a better fighter because I’ve done it. One thing I bring to the table is I’ve fought the government repeatedly, and I’ve won.”

He cited his legal battles with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and, more recently, the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS charged him with evading payment of $1.5 million in income taxes from 1990 to 2001. Williams said the Justice Department dropped all criminal charges after three days of trial, and he agreed to pay a fine for a misdemeanor.

If he runs, Williams vowed to serve only a single six-year term. That’s the same pledge that former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, 77, has made if he runs as a Democrat for the Senate.

“Six years is plenty of time to shake this place up and get things done,” Williams said.

He said there are issues that fire him up such as the possibility of going to war with Syria, which he opposes.

“I’m talking about the same things now as I was in 1982,” Williams said. “We have too much government. Government is reading our emails. We have no privacy in the world. It’s all systematic of a big brother approach. Government should be there, but it should be our little brother.”

Federal taxes remain too high, he said.

The environment is Montana’s greatest asset – one Republicans ought to jump on, Williams said. Montana needs someone who can pull environmentalists and developers together, he said.

Williams said Baucus set the bar high for the next senator with his hard work and strong constituent services.

Chuck Johnson is chief of the Lee Newspapers State Bureau in Helena. He can be reached by email at: chuck.johnson@lee.net or by phone at (406) 447-4066 or (800) 525-4920.

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(14) comments

Linda Jolley

There was debate over whether Larry Williams should have stayed in Montana all his life to be eligible for Congress.
Has anyone pondered whether knowledge of the world would help a Senator serve his country?
Once again, most of the facts are found at Wikipedia.org when you search for "Larry Williams trader." See the Mt. Sinai book and one that is not mentioned: Howard Blum's bestseller, "Gold of Exodus."
How these books got there: Larry has been intimate with the Mideast, Europe, Saudi Arabia . . . .
Larry has done many good things in Montana, including business/family/politics. Is he to be criticized for exercising diverse talents and interacting with the world?
Linda Jolley

Linda Jolley

It seems that most folks appreciate the Good Guy that Larry Williams really is. And those who don't should look at the FACTS about him. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Williams_(trader)
and study the fact-packed Wiki article.
Or just believe ME. Because I have a real name, below, and I have known Larry personally since the 1970's, when he generously helped me start a small biz, with no selfish motive.
Some folks at this site have made comments about "carpetbagging" and not loving the little guy. These are totally out of line with what I have seen. ExampleOne: Larry's brainpower and energy are stupendous. How many guys with that kind of genius have stayed planted in one place all their lives?
ExampleTwo: Larry's concern for the Little Guy radiates throughout what he has done. His Republican choice probably stems from his concern about the invasiveness of Big Government, which can devastate the Little Guy. I, myself, was told by bureaucrats that it is now illegal to start a business in a garage. Larry was appalled!

Linda Jolley


I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, but he's considering a move back to Montana just so he can run for the Senate. Do we really want a part-time Montanan (if you can even call him that) representing us?
Even if the candidate from my party doesn't win, I at least want someone who lives in Montana because he or she loves living here, not someone that lives in tropical American territory.


I am so tired of hearing about Democrats, Republicans, Independents all concerned about what they can get from the system. Maybe it is time we start looking at what is good for
Americans and not what is good for me and my little special interest. Maybe it is time we quit looking at career politians and start looking at men and women who have to make payroll put up with the rules and regulations that are designed to keep the politicians in office. From what I have read and heard about Larry Williams he is a very successful businessman,and a true American, maybe it is time to look out for America and quit looking out for our own interest. I personally like what I have read and have heard about Larry Williams, how refreshing it would be to have some one in office that would represent all Montanans and not just a specific party or special interest.


I think it would be great if Larry Williams ran for Senate. Here is a man that has had the courage to stand up to the Federal Government and win! You would think that those on the left and the right would encourage and embrace this as this is what our country was founded on....keeping the government out of our lives.

Don't think the government has too much power....well I guess the NSA spying on American Citizens is ok! How about the government's ability to hold you with out a trial or seize your assets without a trial sound? They are already doing it. Like the patriot act? Well just keep voting the same way you have.

Larry is truly a leader and we need someone that will not just talk the talk but unite Americans! States need to reclaim their sovereignty and get the Federal Government out of our personal and business lives. People should stop looking at the letter behind the candidates name and start looking at who will restore our rights on both sides of the aisle. Larry will do this for all Montanans!

Right now do you feel you have more personal freedoms than you did 4 years ago, 8 years ago, 20 years ago, etc? If you do you are sleeping under a rock. Larry, like you, I am a native Montanan! Bring sanity back to the federal government and sovereignty back to the states and in the process help both sides of the aisle keep all of our freedoms! Both Democrats and Republicans need their freedoms protected and get the country heading back in the right direction and most of us on both sides of the aisle are tired of the do nothing congress and senate!

Should you choose to run, Good Luck Larry!!!


Wow...the polarization of politics is alive and well...and the core problem of our system.
The left hates the right, the right the left and nothing gets done. That’s the politics of subtraction and division…not addition

Carpetbagger? I'm a third generation Montanan; I have children born here, graduated from Billings Sr, was on the all state football team. I have had businesses and employees throughout the state. Hillary never lived in NY, or did RFK they moved there to run there

The royalties from my books have all gone for scholarships, I care deeply about education. With government taking more from us in taxes and higher prices, like gasoline; poverty is the result. We can change that, a better economy means more
income for all people.

The books themselves (with the exception of the one on some archeological stuff we did in Saudi Arabia) have taught many ranchers and farmers how to best sell their crops; how to make money...and the same for traders. Many of them have prospered beyond their imagination. Take all the shots at me you want but keep them accurate, fair enough?


Fair enough Larry, but why did you leave your state and move to the Virgin Islands?
I am currently running for Mayor of Missoula, and am a life long old fashioned, Mike Mansfield type Dem. I will read more on you, and give you a fair look. I do not vote straight ticket. It impressed me that you gave your profits to scholarships. Would you be willing to be transparent in your campaign if you run?
Best of luck whatever you do
Peggy Cain
aka Zena


Well I guess it would be fun to watch him run in a primary against Daines. None of the R candidates could care less about the working class. I am sure Williams would be able to relate well to most of us after living in the Virgin Islands and evading his taxes for years. I think the Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for not being able to mount a credible candidate for the Senate or House seat next year. What this means is we better start urging Mike McGrath to get in the race...oh sorry, he is to busy being the only half competent member of the Montana Supreme Court.......bad days for working people and those who are struggling with the Mr. Potter ( Daines) party tactics o shipping jobs overseas and wanting us to work for peanuts. And blaming the black guy in the White House for EVERYTHING!!! Bad days ......


Well Said.


The last three comments say it all. He really did pack his carpetbag and move away. You must admit he would fit right in in Washington. I would vote for him if he first does a tour of duty in Syria. UHHH don't see that happening.

Is this the best we can do? As the marine add says "we need a few good men(or women)"

Peggy Cain Running for Mayor (aka Zena)

John P Weber
John P Weber

I HAVE YET TO SEE A REPIBLICAN who cares about the poor and how badly we are treated.


Stay away Joe, I mean Larry!
Don't want you, don't need you,
You already packed your carpetbag
Stay gone. You've got some"big ones"
to even suggest you're thinking about it.
You are not worthy... you are not worthy.
We're not for sale.


What a great idea. Williams could "move" back to America and run for senate in a state that could care less as long as there was an R after the name.

I'm sure Williams has Montana's best interest at heart, and would never manipulate the system for personal gain even though he has authored 11 books on how to do just that!

Are Montanians really that gullible? Perhaps that's why all the republicans have an L on their foreheads.

dave ajou
dave ajou

"Montanians" ? Wow.

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