Kalispell Libertarian Sid Daoud launched his run for the U.S. Senate on Monday, entering an already competitive 2024 race on a third-party ticket.
“I don’t think there’s every been a more critical time for someone to be in the Senate who will be pushing for some fiscal responsibility and to temper our economy. We are in dire straits right now,” Daoud said.
Daoud is a Kalispell City Councilor for Ward 4 and is the chair of the Montana Libertarian Party. Born and raised in Montana, Daoud grew up in Great Falls before moving to the Flathead Valley in 2006. He has lived in Kalispell since 2009, where he and his wife raised their three children. He currently works as a consultant for cybersecurity company Summit 7 Systems. Daoud is a veteran of the U.S. Army.
Daoud was initially elected to the Kalispell City Council in 2019 after running unopposed. He mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Kalispell Mayor Mark Johnson in 2021. During his mayoral race, Daoud said he agreed with Johnson on several economic issues, but wanted to offer Kalispell residents an alternative choice after Johnson ran unopposed in his first two bids for office. Daoud was reelected to the Kalispell City Council this month, once again facing no opponent.
The Libertarian has also made two unsuccessful runs for the Montana Legislature. Daoud in 2018 lost a race for the state House of Representatives to now state Sen. John Fuller, R-Kalispell. In 2022, he ran for the House again, losing to Rep. Terry Falk, R-Kalispell.
In an interview with the Beacon on Monday afternoon, Daoud painted his campaign as an alternative to the country’s two major parties and said he would prioritize cutting government spending if elected, as well as limiting the United States’ involvement in foreign wars.
“We are the only anti-war party out there,” Daoud said of the Libertarian Party. “We don’t want to be involved in regime changes and all of these conflicts around the world.”
Daoud said that while older voters may be reluctant to break from major party ties, he believes Millennial and Gen-Z voters are looking for an alternative option — one that, Daoud said, will “give them hope” and “a sound economic future.”
“I do think that the younger demographics will appreciate my message and my principle in the matter,” he said.
Daoud’s entry into the 2024 U.S. Senate race complicates an already busy field, where Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Jon Tester is considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection, and where Montana Republicans are lined up to hold a competitive primary between businessman Tim Sheehy and the GOP congressman from Montana’s Eastern District, Matt Rosendale, a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
Libertarian candidates have long been considered “spoilers” in competitive political races, siphoning off votes from Republicans, and sometimes Democrats. Montana Libertarian Dan Cox was labeled a spoiler in 2012 after winning 31,892 votes in a race for the U.S. Senate. That year, Tester beat former Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg by around 18,000 votes.
Daoud said he’s not a spoiler, and that the characterization undermines the unique values of his party.
“I think the other two big parties in Montana are going to be surprised about how well put together and how professional this campaign is going to be,” Daoud said.
“We’ve been reduced to the role of spoilers and some people call us like ‘Republican-lite,’” the candidate added. “We’re a different and we’re a unique political party. We have our own platform.”
Though Daoud echoed some of the policy planks espoused by the ultraconservative Rosendale — calling Congress a “uniparty” and decrying American involvement in overseas conflicts — he said that, ultimately, Rosendale is beholden to the Republican Party apparatus, which Daoud would not be in Congress.
“There’s always that pressure for him to vote the establishment way,” Daoud said of Rosendale.
Because of Libertarians’ previous success in statewide races, Daoud, or the winner of a Libertarian primary should Daoud face a challenger, will not have to collect signatures and will automatically appear on the ballot in 2024.
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