HELENA — Billings real estate broker Sam Rankin says he’s abandoning his effort to get on the ballot as an Independent in Montana’s U.S. Senate race this year.
“I wanted to see if people were angry enough to get it going,” he said in an interview last week. “The people that I want and kind of agree with me are just not engaged right now.”
Rankin, 70, a vocal critic of the influence of money in politics, had to obtain the signatures of nearly 17,500 registered voters by the end of May to get on the November general election ballot as an Independent.
He said he’d been able to gather only a few thousands signatures.
Rankin, who’s run for office before as a Democrat, said he’s endorsing former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, a Democrat, in the Senate race. The 78-year-old Bohlinger has the maturity needed to be a good senator, Rankin said.
Rankin said he’s a little disappointed by the lack of response to his effort: “People complain about Congress, but when a candidates comes along that’s different, they don’t recognize it.”
Yet Rankin said Montanans have always treated him well in his previous political efforts, and that he appreciated their candor and occasional support.