Former state Rep. Champ Edmunds of Missoula said Thursday he will run for the office of state auditor in 2016.
Edmunds, a Republican, is the first announced candidate for the office. Current Auditor Monica Lindeen, a Democrat, is barred by term limits from seeking a third term in 2016.
“As your auditor, I will work hard on your behalf by running a responsible agency that can counted upon to watch over the public interests,” he said. “I will help you with your insurance problems and go after scam artists who try to take our hard-earned money.”
If elected, Edmunds would be one of five members of the state Land Board, where he said he would support responsible development of state lands to bring revenue to schools and help create jobs.
Edmunds was elected to the Montana House of Representatives, serving in the 2011 and 2013 sessions.
In 2014, he ran as a Republican for the U.S. Senate, entering the race in early 2013 when longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus was seeking re-election. Baucus decided in April 2013 not to run for another term and later resigned from the Senate to become U.S. ambassador to China.
Edmunds placed last in the three-way Republican primary, with about 8 percent of the vote. U.S. Rep. Steve Daines won the primary with 83 percent of the vote and later won the Senate seat in the general election.
A South Carolina native, Edmunds joined the U.S. Navy and served primarily on nuclear submarines from 1984-1994.
After his honorable discharge from the Navy, Edmunds moved to Montana to raise his children. A single father, he worked nights to earn a degree in accounting and finance from the University of Montana.
Edmunds works for a bank in Missoula, specializing in loans to veterans. He is a deacon in his church, active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, National Rifle Association and the Exchange Club. He serves of the board of directors of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife.
In a press release, Edmunds said he wants to get government back on track by getting it to return to basics. If elected auditor, Edmunds said, he would run a responsible agency that works on Montanans’ behalf.