A second Republican and political newcomer has entered Montana’s U.S. Senate race, challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Steve Daines in the primary.
Dan Larson, a hardware-store manager from Stevensville, paid his filing fee on Tuesday, as a Republican. He’s never run for office before.
Also, Democrat Mike Knoles, a Bozeman physicist and mathematician, said he became an official candidate Wednesday, paying his $1,740 filing fee. He’s one of four Democrats in the contest.
Larson, 40, told MTN News that he believes populism and conservative values are being distorted by money, and that the race needs a conservative who believes in true Christian values, limited government and responsible spending.
Larson also said he was disappointed with Daines for voting against seeing additional documents or witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Trump.
“To make the case for acquittal, and fulfill your duty (as a senator), there needed to be witnesses,” he said. “I saw there wasn’t anyone entering the primary against Steve Daines, so I figured somebody had to do it.”
Daines is running for re-election to a second term and so far faces no well-known opposition.
Democrats John Mues, a rancher and energy engineer from Loma, and Cora Neumann, a health-policy expert from Bozeman already are in the race. Another Democrat, Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins, hasn’t yet paid his filing fee.
So far, Knoles, 32, hasn’t reported raising any money for his campaign. On Twitter Wednesday, he was asking supporters to help him raise $5,000 to gain access to the state’s voter-registration database.
Larson also said he favors public financing of campaigns as “one of the primary means to restore our democracy.”
He said he plans to start making his case to voters and do some “long-form interviews” to explain his views.
“If people see me as a reasonable candidate, a patriot trying to protect values that we all hold dear, maybe my candidacy will stand a chance,” Larson said.