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Libertarian Daoud enters Montana U.S. Senate race

Posted at 4:30 PM, Nov 13, 2023

HELENA — Sid Daoud of Kalispell announced Monday that he’s running for U.S. Senate as a Libertarian.

He told MTN News that neither Republicans nor Democrats have done enough to push back against federal overreach and spending.

“A lot of times you see bills pass – there'll be a spending bill maybe the Democrats will create, and the Republicans will knock a couple of billion dollars off of it, and then everybody will pat themselves on the back to get it passed,” he said. “But in reality, we need to take a much harder stance.”

Daoud says his career has been in information technology, and he currently works as a senior consultant for a company that serves the defense industry. He’s been the chair of the Montana Libertarian Party for several years, and he serves on the Kalispell City Council, a nonpartisan position.

Libertarians have held guaranteed ballot access in Montana for years, because of the support they’ve received in statewide elections. That means, unlike other third parties or independent candidates, they don’t have to collect signatures to secure a place on the general election ballot.

Daoud – or the winner of the Libertarian primary if another candidate files – would be assured of a spot on the 2024 ballot with the Democratic and Republican candidates.

Third-party candidates have gained a lot of attention in recent Montana elections, including Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s previous races. In 2006 and 2012, Libertarian candidates won more votes than Tester’s margin of victory over his Republican opponents.

However, Daoud told MTN he believed Libertarians draw votes from Republicans and Democrats – and bring in those who might not vote otherwise. He said the party has a legitimate perspective to share, and he didn’t think they should have to defend themselves against either of the major parties.

“Now with the incredible need to have somebody up there that's going to make the federal government more responsible, not only economically, but also with things like sending aid outside of the United States when we have people here that are really, really struggling – I don't think that we can wait too much longer for a voice like that,” he said.

In several recent elections, the Libertarian Party has had an inconsistent presence. In 2020, no Libertarian was on the ballot for U.S. Senate after two candidates filed and then withdrew. In 2022, the state party declined to endorse Sam Rankin, who narrowly won a Libertarian primary in Montana’s eastern congressional district, but who party leaders didn’t believe sufficiently represented Libertarian values.

Daoud said, because of Montana’s open primary system, the party has concerns about what he called “fake-tarians” running under the Libertarian label. He said they hoped to avert that in this election by putting forward a candidate early.

“If you're Montanan or if you were drawn to Montana, there’s a really good chance that if you read our statement of principles, you're going to say, ‘Hey, that's the same stuff that I grew up learning and believing,’” said Daoud.

In another response to their concerns about primaries, the Montana Libertarian Party changed its bylaws earlier this year, allowing leaders to endorse any candidate – regardless of what party affiliation they’re running under – if it would advance libertarian principles.