A veteran state legislator from Kalispell has withdrawn his bid for Montana’s lone Congressional seat that many observers believe will be vacated when U.S. Rep. Steve Daines takes aim at the state’s open Senate seat.
Jon Sonju stated in a letter to the Beacon on Thursday that he was removing his name from consideration for the state’s single seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in order to focus on his family and his business. The about-face came less than two weeks after publicly stating that he was “all in” for the House race.
Sonju, 37, is business development manager at Sonju Industries and has an interest in SI Defense, which manufactures firearms in the Flathead Valley. He ran as a lieutenant governor candidate with former U.S. Rep. Rick Hill last year, but narrowly lost to Democrats Steve Bullock and John Walsh in the general election.
Sonju announced in July that he would not seek re-election to the state Senate after a single term – he previously served three terms in the state House – and instead endorsed Montana Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel to run for Senate District 4, in next year’s primary election showdown with Kalispell Mayor Tammi Fisher.
The announcement gave Sonju the freedom to express an early interest in the U.S. House Seat as the ever-speculative political lens drew a bead on a slate of current and former Flathead Valley lawmakers, including former state senator Ryan Zinke, of Whitefish, and Rep. Scott Reichner, of Bigfork.
The letter in which Sonju announced his decision to forego a bid for Congress reads:
“I have spent the past 45 days traveling across Montana, putting thousands of miles on my truck, and chatting with Montanans about the prospect of my seeking the congressional seat likely being vacated by Congressman Daines. People from all walks of life have encouraged me to run, and the support has been nothing short of amazing.
Even though, I said a few weeks ago that ‘I’m in with both feet,’ after further thought, it is my intention to remove my name from consideration for Montana’s lone Congressional seat.
While some may be caught off guard by the sudden change in direction, I ultimately had to make a decision on whether I was willing to commit every waking moment for the next 13 months running for office. I told myself and others that I had to make a firm decision by the first part of October.
My wife and two boys are the most important people in my life. I love to take them camping and fishing, watch them play sports, and tuck them in at night. In addition, I have an obligation to our family business and the roughly 70 families whom I help put food on their tables and shelters over their heads.
In weighing these considerations against my strong desire to serve the State of Montana and its citizens, the choice is both difficult and easy. I am 37 years old and have decided to focus my energy on being a good husband, father, business owner and community member.
My political aspirations to serve Montana will have to wait for another day.
I want to thank my family and friends for their unwavering support, patience, advice and encouragement. This isn’t goodbye to politics for Jon Sonju … stay tuned.”
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