HELENA – Republican Secretary of State Corey Stapleton announced Wednesday that he’s running for governor in 2020, kicking off what’s expected to be a crowded race for Montana’s next chief executive.
Stapleton, 51, a former state senator and financial adviser from Billings, said he’d like to “lead the conversation” on steering Montana toward a state that has “stronger families, higher wages, lower taxes and smaller government.”
“I’ll work with anyone and everyone to help get us there,” he said in a statement Monday.
Stapleton is the first prominent Republican to officially announce his candidacy for governor in 2020.
Attorney General Tim Fox, also a Republican, is considering running for governor in 2020. No Democrat has announced and Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock can’t run for re-election because of term limits, making it an open seat.
Stapleton won election as secretary of state in 2016. He served as a state senator from 2001-2008 and has also run unsuccessfully for U.S. House in 2014 and governor in 2012, losing each time in a Republican primary.
Political unknown Peter Ziehli of Kalispell also has filed paperwork to run for governor as a Republican. He’s an Army veteran and student at Flathead Valley Community College.
Stapleton graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in general engineering and has master’s degrees in political science from Temple University and financial services from The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.