Democrat Melinda Gopher of Missoula said she decided not to run for the U.S. House this year and will focus instead on a 2014 primary challenge against U.S. Sen. Max Baucus.
“I feel this will be a big effort, and I am dedicating my efforts for the next three years to that goal,” Gopher said.
Gopher, a writer and Native American activist, placed third in the four-way 2010 Democratic primary for the U.S. House.
In a statement Monday night, Gopher said she has not had the support from the “party powers that be,” but she expects that to change.
“I symbolize needed reform in the party’s ideology, to that end, along with other reform- minded leaders, we are the future of the state party,” she said.
Gopher predicted 2014 will be a major turning point for the state Democratic Party.
“It will be wise for Sen. Baucus to pass the torch to a younger generation and retire,” she said.
“If he fights it out, I promise an epic battle in the political take-down of a senator who epitomizes everything that is wrong with our government.”
In response, Baucus’ spokesman Kate Downen said, "Max works hard for Montana every day and will keep doing just that— which includes running for office in 2014 and continuing to fight for Montana’s working families.”