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UPDATE: Candidate Filing Kicks Off 2014 Campaign Season
By 5 p.m., 139 candidates had filed, according to McCulloch's office
HELENA – The 2014 campaign season got underway Thursday with the Montana secretary of state's office opening its doors to candidates to file for open seats in the U.S. House and Senate, and a slate of legislative positions.

Two legislative hopefuls, Mary Ann Dunwell of Helena and Don Roberts of Billings, were lined up outside Secretary Linda McCulloch's office at the 8 a.m. opening with their paperwork and $15 filing fees in hand.

"Two years ago, we had a record 155 candidates file on the first day," McCulloch said. "I don't think we'll get those numbers, but we'll get a respectable number of people."

By 5 p.m., 139 candidates had filed, according to McCulloch's office. Any filings completed online or by fax after that time will be considered "second-day" filings, according to spokeswoman Terri McCoy.

The 2012 elections included races for president, governor and other statewide and legislative offices, along with a U.S. Senate and House race.

This year, the top races figure to be for the replacement for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, who previously said he would not run for re-election, and the replacement for U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, who is making a bid for Baucus' seat.

Baucus has been nominated as the next U.S. ambassador to China, and his appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.

The two major political parties introduced some of their legislative candidates at the state Capitol in separate news conferences to outline their strategies to bolster their numbers for the next legislative session in 2015.

"Over the last two sessions, those of you in the public and certainly those of us who served here in the Legislature, saw a lot of good ideas get turned back," said House Minority Leader Chuck Hunter, D-Helena. "We can and we should and we need to do better."

Republicans hold a majority in both the state House and Senate. Sen. Christine Kaufmann, D-Helena, said she expects a diverse field of 70 Democrats to file for office and that "majorities in either chamber are within our reach."

She highlighted Republicans' rejection of a bill last year to expand the state's Medicaid rolls as a major campaign issue.

"We are already hearing that many Montanans are left out of the promise of affordable health care because of the Republicans' refusal to expand access to care to accept the dollars that Montanans have already sent to Washington, D.C.," Kaufmann said.

At the Republican news conference, Rep. Austin Knudsen of Culbertson said his party's candidates want to keep the government from growing, return the revenue surplus to taxpayers and prevent overregulating industry.

"The candidates you see up here today are committed to the Republican principles of keeping the government out of Montanans' lives and out of Montanans' wallets. That's why Montana voters keep voting for Republican majorities in the Montana Legislature," Knudsen said.

This will be the first election in which the state's redistricting plan based on the 2010 Census takes effect, meaning many seeking re-election will be campaigning in new or expanded territories.

"We've got new voters to reach out to, to go to their doors, to learn about their issues, to introduce ourselves to them, to talk about the things that are important to us and to learn about the things that are important to them," Hunter said.

Republican Sen. Ed Walker of Billings blasted the panel that came up with the redistricting plan as left-leaning, implying the new districts could favor Democrats in the elections.

"I don't know if we'll have the majority in the Legislature this time, but I can make the promise that more Montanans will vote for Republicans in November than will vote for Democrats, and that shows that Montanans believe in our ideas," Walker said.

Gov. Steve Bullock, who is not up for re-election this year, said he will be campaigning for some Democratic candidates.

"I certainly want a Legislature that wants to move forward and work in the best interests of Montana," he said.

The filing period runs through March 10, and filing can be done in person, online, by mail or by fax.
 
On 01-09-14, mooseberryinn commented....
Hopefully, the voters will not vote for any more demokratik/socialist puppets for the Liar King’s politburo.
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