HELENA — Republican Larry Williams, who lost two previous races for the U.S. Senate, said Thursday he’s running for the Senate in 2014 — unless U.S. Rep. Steve Daines does.
“My announcement today is that I have raised more than adequate funding from friends in Montana to wage a very aggressive primary campaign, and I will enter the race,” Williams said. “However, if Congressman Daines decides to run, there is no need for me to enter. It would be duplicative. I have urged Steve to enter the race and hope he does.
“But if not, count me in with all of the chips pushed across the table.”
Asked if he would instead run for the U.S. House seat if Republican Daines, as expected, goes for the Senate, Williams said, “That is something I have not thought about. Guess I will see what stirs up, but I doubt it.”
Already in the race for the Republican Senate nominations are: state Rep. Champ Edmunds of Missoula, who also said he will drop to the House if Daines runs for the Senate, and David Leaser of Kalispell, air traffic manager at Glacier Park International Airport.
On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. John Walsh on Thursday entered the Senate race, joining former San Francisco banker Dirk Adams of Wilsall. Former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, a former Republican legislator from Billings who is now a Democrat from Helena, is also mulling the race over.
Williams lost Senate races in Montana in 1978 and 1982 to then U.S. Rep. Max Baucus and then U.S. Sen. John Melcher, both Democrats, respectively.
As in his 1982 race, Williams pledged to accept no out-of-state political action committee money. He vowed to “rail against the dark pools of special interest political money.”
Now 70, Williams is an author and futures trader who lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but has property in the Red Lodge area, where he spent the summer.
“There is a battle going on to fundamentally change the values of our country which includes emasculating the power and rights of individual states,” Williams said in a statement. “Montana’s next U.S. senator can alter the course of history.”
He said too much government has resulted in a huge loss of personal freedom, with taxes taking nearly 40 percent of what working class people earn.
“What has it led to?” Williams said. “Just what we would expect: too many wars and too many people without jobs.”
He said the U.S. economy has lost nearly 350,000 jobs in the past two months, which is on track with the rate of jobs lost during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
“It is imperative the wave of massive government intervention in our lives be turned back,” Williams said.
He said Republicans “have become the party of liberty, individual rights and economic growth that creates real jobs.”
“Supporting solutions — not demagoguery — that makes the most sense and is the best guide to a better future,” he said. “Should I enter the race, it will be a campaign driven by solutions without negative attacks.”