Josh Seckinger

Josh Seckinger, a Bozeman-based fly-fishing guide, is running for U.S. Senate.

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A Bozeman fly-fishing guide has joined a crowded field of Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for U.S. Senate.

Josh Seckinger, 34, announced his candidacy in a news release on Tuesday.

Seckinger moved to Bozeman 11 years ago and has held various jobs, including at the nonprofit Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, as a food delivery person, as a custodian for Bridger Bowl and in the pressroom for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He also worked in oil fields in North Dakota, Texas and Oklahoma as a way to afford to live in Bozeman, he said.

For the last five years, Seckinger has been an independent fly-fishing guide based in Bozeman. He has taken people on trips across Montana, which he said has enabled him to learn about the state and its residents.

“I’ve never had a full-time job with benefits,” Seckinger said. “I’ve chosen between paying my student loans and paying rent. I know what it’s like to work for under $15 an hour. … I am a working-class Montanan who is here to represent working-class Montanans.”

Seckinger was born in Florida and moved to Wisconsin at a young age. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied political science and geography. He initially considered a job in law, but after seeing his grandparents lose most of their money during the Great Recession, he said he realized a traditional job wasn’t for him. He moved to Bozeman in 2009.

“While I may not be a fifth-generation Montanan, I’m a Montanan by choice,” he said in the news release. “I know that this state that we call home deserves better.”

Seckinger’s priorities include protecting public lands, passing the Equal Rights Amendment — a measure aimed at treating men and women the same under the law — and providing a living wage and paid parental leave. He would also like to make health care more accessible and affordable, overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, legalize and tax marijuana, pass laws for universal background checks and create a national firearms registry for future sales, including private party purchases.

Seckinger has twice been found guilty of driving while under the influence in Gallatin County, according to his campaign website. He served 14 days in jail. He said he has been sober for eight years and has been able to learn and move on from the incidents.

“All I’ve heard from people my whole life is that they want an honest politician, and I am being honest about my past,” he said. “I’m not ashamed of it, but I’m also not proud of it.”

In the June primary, Seckinger will face two other Bozeman residents — Mike Knoles, a quantum mathematician, and Cora Neumann, whose career has focused on global public health and economic development — as well as Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins and energy engineer and Navy veteran John Mues.

The five Democratic candidates are each hoping to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines.

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who ran a failed campaign for president, has been pressured to run for U.S. Senate but has repeatedly said he’s not interested. Seckinger said that without Bullock in the race, someone needs to be a voice for working-class Montanans.

“I have this overwhelming feeling that people have been waiting for Steve Bullock to run, and someone needs to step up and start campaigning for this seat,” Seckinger said. “I intend to do just that.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at or at 582-2648.

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