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HELENA -- A retired Missoula businessman filed Thursday to run in Montana's U.S. Senate race as a Libertarian, increasing to four the number of candidates in the high-profile contest.

Jerry McConnell, a former president at manufacturing firm Spectrum Products, said he joined the race because the federal government is "spending us into oblivion," and "I do not believe our two-party system can stop it in time."

If no other Libertarian enters the race, McConnell will advance in the June 5 primary election and face off in the November general election against U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and the Republican nominee, who is likely to be Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont.

Rehberg faces nominal opposition in the GOP primary election from political unknown Dennis Teske, a farmer from Terry.

"What I bring to the table is a record of successful business experience that will produce results for the people of Montana in the U.S. Senate, and help return the federal government to the boundaries drawn for it in our Constitution," McConnell said in a statement Thursday.

Libertarians believe in extremely limited government powers. 

McConnell said he has more than 25 years of experience in the business world, with companies like General Electric and Jore Corp. in Ronan. He said he retired from Spectrum Products in April 2011.

He also said he "has the resources personally to get (my) message out to the people of Montana," but did not elaborate.

"Are you better off than you were four years ago?" McConnell asked. "How about $8 trillion ago? For most Montanans, the answer is simple: No. I am running to change all of that."


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