HELENA — State Rep. Champ Edmunds, R-Missoula, confirmed Tuesday that he is considering running in 2014 for the U.S. Senate seat held by longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus.
He is the first Republican to publicly express interest in challenging Baucus, although others are expected to surface.
Edmunds was elected in November to his second term in the Montana House.
“We’re doing some exploratory work, but right now, we need to focus on this session,” Edmunds said Tuesday. “We’re not running. We’re exploring.”
He has a campaign website under construction at www.champedmunds.com and has printed envelopes to solicit campaign donations for a U.S. Senate campaign.
“Yes! I will help Champ become the next U.S. senator from Montana!” the envelope says.
Edmunds said he thinks it’s time for a change in Montana’s Senate seat.
“I think I’d be a fresh face over there,” he said. “Sen. Baucus has been over there over 40 years. I think we need some new ideas and some fresh ideas.”
Baucus was elected to the U.S. House in 1974 and served there four years. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978 and has served there since. Baucus ranks third in seniority in the 100-member Senate.
“Even with all that seniority, he doesn’t seem to be able to use the seniority to help Montana,” Edmunds said.
A South Carolina native, Edmunds moved to Montana in 1997 after serving as a submariner in the U.S. Navy from 1984 to 1995.
He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting and finance from the University of Montana.
Edmunds works as a mortgage banker.
He is divorced and has two children.
As a legislator, Edmunds serves on the House Appropriations Committee and its General Government Subcommittee and the House Rules Committee.