Champ Edmunds, a relatively unknown Montana legislator (R-Missoula) is reportedly announcing his run for vulnerable US Senator Max Baucus’s seat at 12:30 pm on Thursday, February 28. Just two days after his blast motion on HB 480, a bill to increase Montana’s incentives to attract movie and television businesses, failed due to a lack of support from Republicans, Edmunds apparently feels confident enough to launch his US Senate campaign. A no-confidence vote from his own party isn’t a great message for Champ.
Earlier this month, Edmunds sent a letter to his supporters
begging for soliciting donations. In the message, he blasted “establishment Republicans”- presumably GOP opponent Corey Stapleton, former State Senate Minority Leader. Apparently Champ is campaigning as the Ken Miller in this race, running to the right of Stapleton. This is an effective strategy in Montana’s statewide races- to elect Democrats. If Edmunds hasn’t noticed, there aren’t many Republicans holding elected state office in Montana outside of the legislature.
Edmunds’ “conservative across the board” rhetoric may rally the dwindling base of tea people, but moderate Republicans, independents and Democrats opposed to Max Baucus will likely be repelled. I predict fundraising struggles in Champ’s future. Karl Rove won’t likely be throwing him cash. From his Feb 8, 2013 letter:
You may have read that Karl Rove is trying to suppress grass roots conservatives in the next election cycle. But there’s good news! Here in Montana, we have a choice between a party establishment-backed candidate, and an authentic conservative.
While “authentic conservative” Edmunds isn’t likely to offer much competition to either six-term Democrat incumbent Max Baucus or to “party establishment-backed candidate” (what?) Corey Stapleton, his goofiness and tea-approved social views will surely add entertainment to the campaign. A liberal blog already called him the “Craziest Candiate (so far) of the 2014 Election Cycle”. Support from the embattled racist chairperson of the Yellowstone County GOP/Montana Shrugged, Tea Party Patriots co-founder, Jennifer Olsen is likely.