Feb 1, 2011 3:23 PM by Marnee Banks (Helena)
Franke Wilmer, a Democrat from Bozeman who currently serves in the Montana House of Representatives, has announced that she will enter the race for the U.S. House of Representatives.
The seat is currently held by Republican Denny Rehberg; he defeated Democrat challenger Dennis McDonald in November 2010.
Wilmer serves on the MT House Committees on Education; Fish, Wildlife, & Parks; and State Administration. She is also a professor of political science at Montana State University.
Wilmer has served in the Montana House since 2007 and was Speaker Pro Tempore last session. She has a long history advocating for human rights issues.
"I would say the reason I became a Democrat was because they were right about civil rights when I was growing up. I came from a Republican family and I know how to listen to and be thoughtful about perspectives that are different from my own and I even share some of them. But being right on civil rights lead me to a lifetime commitment of fairness," Wilmer noted.
If Wilmer is elected she would be the first Montana Congresswoman since Jeannette Rankin.
Reports this week indicate that Rehberg may be giving up his House seat, with plans to challenge U.S. Senator Jon Tester in the 2012 election. Rehberg announced Tuesday on KRTV that he will make an announcement about his decision on Saturday.
Republican Steve Daines, currently a candidate for the U.S. Senate, is said to be considering switching his campaign to the U.S. House, in light of Rehberg's possible Senate bid. Daines is scheduled to make an announcement on Thursday about his plans.
We will bring you more details about Wilmer's plans as more information becomes available.