A Bozeman state lawmaker has pulled out of the U.S. House race, citing a lack of money coming in through fundraising.
Tom Woods, who is a state representative from House District 62, announced the end of his campaign in a release that said he was not able to raise enough money to be competitive with his primary opponents. Five Democrats remain in the primary for Montana's sole U.S. House seat, currently held by Rep. Greg Gianforte, a Republican.
In a statement posted on Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday afternoon, Woods said "The sad reality is that modern campaigns take a lot of money and that's in short supply in a six-way Democratic primary."
He did not endorse another of the Democratic candidates, saying it was a "great group of qualified candidates, all of whom I'd back in a heartbeat against Greg Gianforte."
Remaining Democrats in the primary include Billings attorney John Heenan, former nonprofit director Grant Kier of Missoula, former Billings lawmaker Lynda Moss, Bozeman attorney Jared Pettinato and former state lawmaker Kathleen Williams, of Bozeman. The primary is June 5.
As of the most recent financial reporting in October, Heenan had raised about $325,000. Kier, who announced his campaign after Heenan, had raised $192,000. Woods had not filed a report.
Gianforte, whose fundraising totals are higher than other candidates because the reporting period included his campaign during the special election to win the seat, reported having about $178,000 cash on hand at the end of September.
In a post to his personal Facebook page, Woods cited fundraising as an issue. "The fact is, if I were to continue any longer, I would have to go into debt," he wrote.
Woods said Heenan has "very similar progressive issue positions to me on health care reform, human rights, raising the minimum wage and fighting corporate money in politics."
Woods also said he would announce if he plans to run to keep his legislative seat in the state House by Jan. 11, saying he will probably file to run again "despite the fact that it's a terrible job." Filing for statewide legislative seats opens Jan. 18.