Perennial candidate Bob Kelleher won an upset victory in Montana's Republican U.S. Senate primary early Wednesday, . . .
Kelleher, an 85-year-old attorney from Butte, will challenge Democrat incumbent Max Baucus in November. Baucus is a five-term U.S. senator who had more than $6 million in the bank in May and has raised more than $10 million since he was last re-elected in 2002.
Kelleher, who has run for office in the state at least 13 times, has not filed any campaign finance reports, meaning he has not raised or spent more than $5,000 in the race.
The new nominee's views are far from the mainstream Republican party in Montana. He has run as both a Democratic and a Green Party candidate, and he has advocated more gun control. . . .
Kirk Bushman, an industrial facilities designer from Billings, and former Montana House Majority Leader Michael Lange were thought to be the front-runners in the Republican primary. But with 96 percent of precincts reporting at 1 a.m. Wednesday, Kelleher had a wide lead over both of them with 36 percent of the vote. Lange had 23 percent, and Bushman had 21 percent.
There is some speculation that Kelleher won simply because, having run for office so many times before, he had high name recognition among primary voters in a crowded field.