Former Montana state Sen. Corey Stapleton announced Wednesday that he will challenge Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, giving the six-term incumbent his first major Republican opponent.
"I want to make life better for Montanans, for all of us — our kids, our grandkids," Stapleton said in a video posted to his campaign website. "That's why I'm running for the United States Senate."
Stapleton, a financial adviser, finished second last year in the seven-candidate Republican primary for governor. In 2012, Republicans lost both the governor's race and the party's challenge to Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, disappointments for the GOP in a state the party carried handily at the presidential level.
Baucus, 71, is one of six Democrats in the Senate seeking re-election in a state the president lost. Still, Tester held off a strong challenge from then-Rep. Denny Rehberg last year, and Baucus was sitting on a $3.6 million war chest as he began the 2014 cycle.
Stapleton is a Naval Academy graduate and served two terms in the state Senate, including stints as minority leader and chairman of the Legislative Campaign Committee.
Roll Call rates this races as Leans Democratic.
Joshua Miller contributed to this report.