Rehberg Not Running for Senate

By Beacon Staff

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg will not challenge Montana Sen. Max Baucus in 2008, the state Republican party announced Thursday.

In a statement issued by the GOP, Rehberg said he will not be a candidate for Senate or governor next year.

“Speculation to the contrary only serves as a distraction from the strong candidates that Montana Republicans will field for each of these important races,” Rehberg said. “I remain completely focused on my job as Montana’s congressman.”

Baucus, a Democrat, had raised a total of $4.4 million by the first quarter of this year _ making him formidable to potential challengers. Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer is also up for re-election in 2008, but few speculated that Rehberg would challenge him.

Former House Majority Leader Michael Lange has announced he will run against Baucus, but the field is still considered to be wide open.