© Greg Nash
The first black man to win election as mayor of a city in Montana and a first-time candidate who deployed to the Middle East on top-secret missions during the global war on terror are both preparing to announce challenges to Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate GOP seeks bipartisan panel to investigate Afghanistan withdrawal Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack Daines to introduce bill awarding Congressional Gold Medal to troops killed in Afghanistan MORE (R-Mont.) next year.
Wilmot Collins, 55, a Liberian immigrant who has served as mayor of Helena since 2018, filed papers with the Federal Election Commission on Monday to open a campaign account. In a video posted to his Twitter feed, Collins hinted at his plans ahead of a Monday announcement.
“Lobbyists are running the show in Washington, and they are leaving Montana families behind. It is left with us to fix it,” Collins said. “I may not look nor sound like the regular politicians, but I’m a hard worker and I get things done.”
John Mues, 45, an engineer in the energy sector who graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy, is also planning a run. The fourth-generation Montana native told The Hill this weekend he is also close to an announcement.
“I do believe that the country and my home state of Montana are facing some of the biggest challenges ever. We need folks in the House of Representatives, in the United States Senate, in the Oval Office who are willing and able to fix these problems. And when I look at Sen. Daines, I see somebody who is clearly lacking in empathy for ordinary folks, ordinary Montanans and ordinary Americans,” Mues said.
Both men will face an uphill battle against Daines, who took 57 percent of the vote when he won his first term in 2014. He ended the first quarter of the year with $2.5 million in the bank.
Daines is also likely to benefit from a top-of-the-ticket tailwind from President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE, who carried Montana by almost 21 points in 2016. No Senate candidate won that year in a state the other party’s presidential candidate also won.
Daines’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democrats had hoped to woo Gov. Steve Bullock (D) into the race, but Bullock has declined. Instead, he is likely to launch a presidential campaign in the coming days.