Two Republicans are vying for the opportunity to challenge Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman, who represents District 32, one of Bozeman's two senate seats.
The winner of the June 8 primary race between Michael Comstock, a systems analyst at New Wave Technologies, and Thomas Mid Mosser, the former owner of the Imperial Inn of Bozeman, will face Jent, who has served one term, in November.
This is Comstock's first bid for public office. He said his main priority if elected would be to promote "fiscal sustainability" in Helena.
"Government doesn't seem to ever downsize," he said. "State workers are making more than the private sector. That has me concerned."
Comstock cited the latest predictions by the Legislature's chief budget forecaster, Terry Johnson, who said that the state could be facing a $405 million general fund budget deficit in 2011.
"It's gonna be a lot of tough love, a lot of cuts," he said.
Comstock said his work in the private sector would help him identify inefficiencies and excess in state government. He didn't identify any specific programs or departments that he would trim but said that the state needs to identify "needs, not wants."
"Analyzing systems and their weaknesses is one of the things I do," he said.
He would also like to see the Legislature go to yearly sessions, rather than meeting every other year. Holding yearly sessions could help make the state "more responsive to problems," he said.
"That would also make for more experienced legislators," he said.
Comstock is a supporter of states' rights and said Montana may need to "opt-out" of federal health care reform.
"As our state and others lose domain over insurance, energy, water, forests, education, jobs, taxes, guns, fishing, speech, etc., we lose our sovereignty, liberty and freedom to a centralized socialized government in Washington, D.C., or worse, maybe a one-world UN controlled government," as stated in his campaign literature.
Comstock said he is closer to an independent candidate than a traditional Republican and his open-minded approach to problem solving makes him more appealing to the average SD 32 voter than either Mosser or Jent.
"I think there's a lot of good ideas," he said. "I think we all need to learn to get along."
Editor's note: Thomas Mid Mosser declined the Chronicle's request for an interview for this story. Based on a resume he submitted, Mosser has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin and is the former owner of the Imperial Inn of Bozeman.
Lauren Russell can be reached at email@example.com or 582-2635.