HELENA – State Sen. Dave Wanzenried of Missoula is ending his efforts to seek the Democratic nomination for governor, saying he did not meet fundraising goals he set late last year.
Wanzenried, 62, filed paperwork in November to seek the office being vacated by two-term Gov. Brian Schweitzer, and he set an “ambitious” fundraising goal of about $150,000 by the end of June. In campaign finance reports filed Tuesday, Wanzenried reported having just less than $19,000 in the bank.
“For a variety of reasons, through the first two reporting periods, those goals have not been met,” Wanzenried said in a statement. “I simply have not attracted enough investors to wage a viable statewide campaign.”
Wanzenried has been a top Democrat in the Legislature and has 25 years of experience working in the trucking industry. He also served as Gov. Ted Schwinden’s chief of staff and state labor commissioner in the 1980s. In the early 1990s, he served as a state legislator from Kalispell.
Wanzenried said he has encouraged Attorney General Steve Bullock to run for governor.
“Steve Bullock is a long-time friend — he has the skills to lead our state, preserve our budget surplus and create jobs,” Wanzenried said. “I’ve encouraged him to run for governor and pledged to support him if he does.”
State Sen. Larry Jent of Bozeman is also seeking the Democratic nomination.
Several Republicans are running for their party’s nomination, including former Congressman Rick Hill, former state Sens. Ken Miller of Laurel and Corey Stapleton of Billings, and security consultant Neil Livingstone.
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