As expected, Republican Steve Daines announced Thursday that he is abandoning his Montana Senate bid to instead run for the House.
Roll Call first reported on Monday that Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) will announce on Saturday that he will challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D) and that Daines would announce Thursday his bid for Rehberg’s seat.
Daines did so in a press release and indicated the move gives Republicans their best chance for winning all three of Montana’s federal seats by 2014, when Sen. Max Baucus (D) is up for re-election.
“I can best serve Montana by uniting the Republican Party and reaching out to concerned Montanans of all affiliations who believe we need less government and more jobs,” Daines said in a statement. “The mission has not changed. I am running to fight the politicians of both sides who believe bigger government and more spending will solve our problems and create jobs.”
Daines serves as vice president of Bozeman-based RightNow Technologies and previously ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor.
State Rep. Franke Wilmer is so far the only Democrat to announce a House bid, but about a dozen more names are in the mix as potential candidates.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.