(MTN News-HELENA) Former state Rep. Champ Edmunds, R-Missoula, has dropped out of the race for state auditor.

In a statement Sunday, Edmunds said he’s stepping aside because Montana Senate President Matt Rosendale, a fellow Republican, announced last week he is running for the post.

“I am not a politician; I am a man who wants our state and our nation to prosper,” he said. “I have always said if the right person … were interested in this seat, that I would be happy to step aside. Matt Rosendale is such a person.”

Edmunds called Rosendale a “principled conservative” who would make a great state auditor.

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Rosendale, a rancher and land developer from Glendive, and Democrat Jesse Laslovich are running for state auditor, which is an open seat this year because term limits bar incumbent Auditor Monica Lindeen from running again.

The auditor regulates the insurance and financial-services industries in Montana.

Edmunds had raised only $4,500 in campaign funds through last year, while Laslovich had raised $140,000.

Laslovich is currently chief legal counsel to Lindeen, a Democrat.


Reporter: Mike Dennison