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Ex-Congressman Says No to Montana Senate Bid #MTSEN

Former Rep. Pat Williams, D-Mont., told Lee Newspapers on Monday that he strongly considered, but ultimately opted against, running for the Big Sky State’s open Senate seat.

Williams, who left Congress in 1997 after nine terms and would turn 77 before Election Day next year, said he’d been fielding calls urging him to run for three months — though he didn’t say whether any of them came from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Since former Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s surprise decision not to run, a few other prospective Democratic candidates have followed suit. The top names that remain in the recruitment mix include Lt. Gov. John Walsh and state Supreme Court Justice Brian Morris.

Republicans are awaiting word from freshman Rep. Steve Daines, who is giving the race serious consideration.

The seat of retiring Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is one of Democrats’ most vulnerable seats in the country.

“After I thought about it awhile, I actually felt an obligation to give it some genuine thought,” Williams told the Montana newspaper.

“I became convinced, at least in my own mind, that I’d have a better than even chance of getting elected,” Williams continued. “In part because of my age — 75 — I’d only serve one term and have no obligations.”

The former congressman, who said health was a consideration in not running, wasn’t the only member of the Williams family to say he wouldn’t run, according to the Gazette. His wife, Carol Williams, a former state Senate majority leader, said no. So did his daughter, Whitney Williams, who served as director of operations for then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and is the founder of a Seattle-based philanthropic consulting firm.

The race is rated a Tossup/Tilt-Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.