Daines Formally Files for Montana Congress Seat

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Bozeman businessman Steve Daines formally filed paperwork Tuesday to appear on the ballot, continuing his race for the state’s lone congressional seat with a familiar Republican message built around less federal spending.

Daines is aiming to keep the House seat in GOP hands, as current U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg vacates it in order to challenge U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. Democrats have a crowded primary field of seven declared candidates for the House seat.

Daines, who started his effort by first announcing intentions in 2010 to challenge Tester before ceding that race to Rehberg, easily leads the U.S. House field in fundraising.

Daines said he mostly agrees with votes Rehberg cast in office, although said there would be some differences between the two among “hundreds and hundreds” of votes cast. He didn’t specify any specific policy differences.

The vice president at RightNow Technologies said a balanced federal budget with no new taxes is a priority.

Daines said acrimony in Washington D.C. is behind many of the problems in Congress. He laid blame on Democrats for the stalemates.

Daines, noting Congress’ low approval ratings, blasted the “lobbyists, lawyers, and career politicians” who he says run Washington.

Daines, in an interview Tuesday after a filing speech, stopped short of offering any criticism of the House Republican majority that has also fared poorly in polling.

Like current House Republican leaders, Daines called on Democrats to “compromise” on a balanced budget that includes no tax increases. Key sticking points of Washington deficit reduction negotiations have been the GOP’s refusal to bend on such a point and a continued demand from Democrats to include a tax increase on high-income earners.

Daines also said he supports a total repeal of the federal health care law scheduled for full implementation in 2014, although he suggested that some of the more popular provisions could be kept in modified form. He said a part of the law that prevents health insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions could be kept if it excluded the previously uninsured.

Daines, who has already secured the backing of most of the state’s key Republican institutions, faces primary opposition from Helena author Eric Brosten. Brosten has so far has not raised much money or mounted much of a campaign effort.