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Amanda Curtis waits to speak

Newly appointed Montana democratic Senate candidate Amanda Curtis waits to speak at the "Billings is Ready" NDO supporters rally on the steps of First Congregational Church on Monday.

HELENA – Eight days into her U.S. Senate campaign, Democrat Amanda Curtis is traveling the state to meet voters – and still patching together her fledgling effort.

Curtis’ campaign manager comes on board this week, and she said Friday she’s hoping to arrange as many debates as possible with Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, but hasn’t talked directly to his campaign.

“I still believe if we can get Congressman Daines in front of working-class Montanans to discuss issues that are important to us, and ask him to explain all of these wrong votes (he’s taken) on issues, we’ll win,” she said.

The Daines campaign hasn’t committed to any debates, but has said it’s open to the idea.

Daines appeared Thursday at a candidates’ forum in Colstrip, but Curtis, who was in town, didn’t attend.

Curtis, a state representative from Butte, said she didn’t understand there was a candidate forum and chose to meet with union workers and other voters while she was in Colstrip. She also traveled to Bozeman, Billings and Miles City last week.

Jim Atchison, director of the Southeast Montana Economic Development Corp., said he sent an invitation to Curtis Tuesday about the forum.

Curtis has been raising money, but said she has yet to speak with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee about possible assistance. The DSCC did not return messages seeking comment.

ActBlue, a national online funding conduit for Democrats, has set up an account for Curtis, and she’s also going through the endorsement process with Emily’s List, a national political action committee that helps women candidates who support abortion rights.

When asked about Daines’ “wrong votes,” Curtis pointed to his support of the U.S. House Republican budget, which proposed to cut spending, lower corporate and individual tax rates and offer a voucher plan for Medicare recipients to buy private health insurance.

She said Daines’ campaign theme of “more jobs, less government” should be changed to “more tax breaks for corporations and fewer American jobs.”

Missoulian State Bureau reporter Mike Dennison can be reached at 1-800-525-4920 or by email at

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