Just after 12:00p, Wednesday afternoon, Congressman Steve Daines announced he'll run for U.S. Senate, telling his supporters Montana deserves better. He says DC should look more like Montana, not the other way around.
More than a hundred supporters packed a room in the Holiday Inn to stand alongside Congressman Steve Daines as he announced his bid for US Senate.
"I believe Steve is our best candidate for the United States Senate," says supporter Betty Biggs.
Folks like Biggs say they look forward to having someone in Washington D.C. who will work across party lines to do what's best for Montana.
"I know he's going to stand for the people across the state of Montana and across our nation," says Biggs.
But not everyone agrees.
"I think he's a very bad choice for Montana," says Belgrade resident Jeannie Brown.
People like Brown stood outside the Holiday Inn holding signs in opposition to Daines. Brown tells me she believes Daines is irresponsible and hopes others will educate themselves before they cast their vote.
"He talks about how he's pro-business, here for Montanans but he put a lot of people out of work. That's not responsible and that's not working for Montana's best interest," says Brown.
She's talking about October's government shutdown.
We asked Congressman Daines about the shutdown. He tells us he didn't want it but he does want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
"We need to do it in a way back in Washington with civility, to be the adult in the room," Daines says.
We also asked why he decided to run. Congressman Daines tells us, he didn't run for the house with his eye on the senate but says he made the decision after input from Montanans and his family.
"This isn't about me, this is about serving my country and the future of this nation and that's why I got involved in public service in the first place," says Daines.
Daines says, if elected to the Senate, he'll bring the problem solving skills he learned at Montana State University and in the business world to address what he calls a dysfunctional government.
"Bring those skills to Washington to address these problems and move forward and govern again versus have this gridlock," explains Daines.
Daines tells us he hopes to tackle issues like the economy, jobs and healthcare if elected.
Daines is a first term congressman who had never held political office before winning last November's U.S. House race. His entry in to the U.S. Senate race has been widely expected by other republicans and he is the most high profile Republican to enter the race so far. Other Republicans who have announced bids for the U.S. Senate include State Representative Champ Edmunds from Missoula and David Leaser from Kalispell.
Edmunds says he has not yet decided if he will stay in the race for US Senate. When Edmunds had announced his candidacy, he said he would change his race to Motnana’s congressional seat if Daines runs for Senate. However, has since said that he would consider staying in the race for Senate. Following Daines’ announcement, Edmunds tells NBC Montana he will be weighing his options over the next couple weeks.
Three Democrats have announced they are running for the U.S. Senate. They are former Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger, current Lieutenant Governor John Walsh and Dirk Adams, a rancher for the Wilsall area.