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Daines Might Run For Senate

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BOZEMAN -

There are signs tonight that Congressman Steve Daines will run for the US Senate.

Former State Legislator Corey Stapleton, who had previously announced intentions to run for senate, now says he will be running for the U.S. House.

Questions have swirled for months about who will run for Senator Max Baucus' soon to be vacant senate seat. Tonight, there's a serious indication that the state's top republican will try to move from the house to the senate.

Republican Corey Stapleton originally announced he was running for senate back in February, before Baucus announced he will retire.

Today, Stapleton announced he would run for the house seat, leaving the path open for Daines to run for senate.

Stapleton said the switch gives Republicans the best shot at winning both federal races.

"In order to prevent a costly primary where the top two money raisers, him, Steve Daines, and me, would be battling, it makes a lot of sense to maybe strengthen our field and one of us step down," said Stapleton.

With Daines eyeing the senate seat-- political experts say it will be tough for Democrats to keep the seat they've held for several decades.

Many top Democrats, including former Governor Brian Schweitzer, have announced they will not run.

A political unknown Dirk Adams of Wilsall announced last month he will run for the seat, becoming the only Democrat to do so.

State Representative and Montana State University Political Science professor Franke Wilmer said it's not too late for people to jump into any race, and she might do so herself.

"It is something I'm thinking about very seriously," said Wilmer. "It's a big decision. It affects your family, but mostly I think we need to focus on the seriousness of the issues."

Officials at Daines' office said he still hasn't made a decision about the upcoming political season yet.

Candidates can start officially filing their candidacy with the Secretary of State January 9.    

Stapleton could be joined in a primary race by many other current and former GOP lawmakers and officials.

State Representative Champ Edmunds has said he would switch his U.S. Senate run to the house as well.

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