Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has his first Republican challenger: former Montana state Sen. Corey Stapleton (R) announced Wednesday morning he will run against the longtime senator.
"Like a lot Montanans I look at our politicians in Washington, D.C. and just shake my head," Stapleton says in a video announcing his campaign before decrying federal deficit spending. "I want to make life better for Montanans, for all of us, our kids, our grandkids, and that's why I'm running for the United States Senate."
His standing in the state was hurt by his work to pass President Obama's healthcare bill, but his poll numbers have since recovered a bit: a November poll by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling found he had a narrow 3-point lead over a generic Republican candidate.
Stapleton, a Navy Academy graduate and former soldier, ran for governor in 2012 but lost in the GOP primary. The GOP primary could be a crowded one, though the Republican bench in the state is relatively short and his primary run has helped him build his statewide name recognition.
Watch his announcement video: