Josh Seckinger

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

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After 16 days on the campaign trail, a Bozeman fly-fishing guide has dropped out of the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and endorsed Gov. Steve Bullock.

Josh Seckinger, 34, voiced his support for Bullock in a news release that also announced the end of his candidacy.

“I entered this race because I felt working-class Montanans needed someone to represent them. With a strong history as attorney general and governor, Steve Bullock is the best person in the state to do that,” Seckinger said. “He has my full support to be the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate. I will do whatever I can to ensure he defeats Steve Daines in November.”

By Friday, Bullock had not filed for the U.S. Senate.

Bullock, who ran a failed campaign to be the Democratic nominee for president, has repeatedly insisted that he wouldn’t run against Daines, the incumbent Republican. Former President Barack Obama met with Bullock in Washington, D.C., last month and Sen. Chuck Schumer recently flew to Montana to see Bullock, but neither discussion appeared to have changed the governor’s mind.

Several news agencies reported this week, however, that Bullock is likely to run. He has until Monday to file for the June primary.

The Democratic race for U.S. Senate now has four candidates — Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins, quantum mathematician Mike Knoles, energy engineer and Navy veteran John Mues, of Loma, and Cora Neumann, a Bozeman resident whose career has focused on public health.

In a since-deleted tweet, Knoles, of Bozeman, expressed frustration at the timing of the news that Bullock may now run for U.S. Senate. On Friday, however, Knoles said he intends to drop out and endorse Bullock if he joins the race.

“I do intend to use what I have built to continue to push for a better platform from the Democratic Party. Issues like universal basic income, the environment, corruption and the tax code need to be front and center in 2020 and I hope Bullock will take the time to listen to my proposal,” Knoles said in a Twitter message. “I have always been a huge fan of his political style and consider him to be a role model in politics for reaching across the aisle, and I honestly think he should join.”

As Seckinger leaves the U.S. Senate race, Eric Fulton, of Whitefish, became the first Libertarian to file for the seat on Friday.

The Green Party also qualified for the ballot on Friday, according to the Montana Secretary of State’s Office, although no Green Party candidate had filed by 5 p.m. Friday.

Seckinger did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at pstein@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2648.

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