Montana's 2020 election
Montana's 2020 election
The Montana Free Press guide
Republican for U.S. Senate
(Lost in June primary)
Larson, of Stevensville, owns a hardware store. He has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Montana.

Key coverage in the race for U.S. Senate

Race profile: The Trump and COVID show

Montana's Senate race pits incumbent Trump stalwart Steve Daines versus two-term Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. The results may hinge on presidential performance and pandemic response — and could change the face of the upper chamber of Congress.

Shared State: Ep. 4 — The quiet beauty of our state

How one aspect of our shared environment, public lands‚ is playing out in Montana’s U.S. Senate race.

Montana PBS debate: U.S. Senate

Video of Daines and Bullock at their Montana PBS debate Sept. 28
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Campaign finance

As a federal candidate, Larson has a campaign committee that files financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. Data shown here, current through 03/31/2020, is pulled from the FEC website for the 2019-20 election cycle.
Total raised
Total spent
From individuals
From committees
Note: Fundraising components shown here don't necessarily sum to total fundraising because of miscellaneous receipts and accounting adjustments. Self-financing includes candidate contributions and campaign loans.

Contributions by zip code: Dan Larson (R)

No itemized data available from the FEC as of last election guide update.
Portion of individual receipts from Montana
Itemized individual contributions reported
Number at $2,800 contribution limit
Note: Small individual donors totalling $200 or less in contributions aren’t necessarily reported in itemized data used for map. Individual contributions to federal candidates are limited to $2,800.

On the issues

Issue statements were solicited from active candidates via a written questionnaire before the June primary election. Answers were lightly edited for punctuation and spelling.

Particularly as the nation deals with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, what federal action would you support to help create good, high-paying jobs for Montana workers?

In Montana, there are tremendous needs for spending at a local level. Policies that focus on and support the health of our rural communities will create the right environment for job growth in Montana. These policies include: developing rural broadband, funding for water and sanitation infrastructure, improving access to capital for small businesses, promoting a regulatory environment that supports entrepreneurship, fighting for our agricultural producers, and supporting rural health care, education, and local government funding.

The single most effective policy we can adopt to improve the health of the Montana economy is universal basic income. The concept is still foreign to a lot of Montana voters, and there is a lot of work left to do to build support for UBI in Montana. I believe it is the most efficient tool available to foster economic growth. Drive the prosperity of small business, and unlock the potential of entrepreneurs across the nation.

What separates you from your primary opponents as your party’s best candidate to represent Montana in Washington, D.C.?

The most substantive difference between my opponent and me is philosophy. I believe that our representatives should be public servants that seek to understand the diverse needs of their constituents and act as an advocate for the policies that improve the lives of all Montanans.

To accomplish this well, you have to maintain an honest and fair voice, build consensus, and have the courage to stand up for what is right, even if there is a political cost.

If elected to the Senate, how would you attempt to bridge partisan divides to represent the concerns of Montanans who don't share your political orientation in Washington D.C.?

I believe the role of a senator is to understand the concerns of all Montanans regardless of ideology. I intend to build consensus in Washington, D.C., and the state of Montana for policies that target the root cause of the issues this country is facing. There is a lot of good work to get done in the center of most problems. If we are working on practical solutions to the issues most people agree on, there should be minimal partisan objections.

If there are Montanans who disagree with my policies, it is my job to work within our communities to build support and understanding. The strength of a policy should be measured by its overall benefit to Montana, not the benefit to one political party or special interests.

Would you have voted to convict President Donald Trump of abuse of power or obstruction of justice based on the evidence presented to the U.S. Senate in his impeachment trial earlier this year? Why?

The Senate trial of Donald J. Trump is an overwhelming example of how deeply flawed our federal government has become. Impeachment exposed a concerning level of hypocrisy in this nation. All voters should pay attention to the precedent this trial has set, and its implications on the balance of power in this nation.

Every senator who voted against documents and witnesses harmed the process and subsequently this nation. If the justification for acquittal is predicated on the concept that;

It is the voters who are to decide if the president's actions are worthy of removal from office.

Then the denial of the very evidence necessary to inform our decision is an obstruction of justice. Politics should never take precedence over your duty to protect the rule of law in this great nation. Any senator who voted to obstruct your ability to make an accurate assessment of the president's actions should never be re-elected.

Do you see reining in the federal debt as a priority? If so, how should that be accomplished? If you support new taxes, whom specifically should that burden fall on? If you support spending cuts, which specific places in the federal budget should be targeted? (We assume that working to minimize waste, fraud and abuse is a given.)

Federal debt in this nation is concerning. Before the COVID-19 crisis, we were at 105% debt to GDP — anything over 75% debt to GDP is considered inherently risky. The Trump tax cuts did not lead to the GDP growth targeted, and the reductions in federal spending disproportionately affected critical programs within our communities.

Post-Covid-19, the challenge will be balancing our monetary policy. We will need to responsibly stimulate the economy, while appropriately controlling for inflation. To accomplish this, we will have to work on both taxation and spending. The tax system in the United States is fundamentally flawed as it overburdens labor and individual income.

I support a value-added tax as a replacement for income and payroll taxes. Long term, a VAT can be much more flexible and adaptable to accommodate balanced federal budgets. Rather than targeting specific programs, we should be reducing the demand for services based on responsible monetary policy and economic growth.

Do you support keeping the Affordable Care Act in place? What if any alternate federal policies would you support to promote Montanans’ access to safe, affordable health care?

Leaving the framework of the ACA, and working on price controls in health care is our most responsible short term action. We will have to make substantial efforts to remove the pharmaceutical and insurance lobbies from the health care conversation. Controlling the influence of lobbies and special interest is an essential foundation for implementing smart policy focused on improving outcomes and controlling health care costs.

Do you believe the federal government has enacted effective policies to keep Montana’s family-owned farms viable businesses? If not, which pieces of federal policy would you push to change?

The federal government has not enacted effective policies to keep Montana's family-owned farms viable. Agriculture producers are struggling, and in order for family-owned farms to be sustainable into the future several things will have to change.

For example, the USMCA did not include Country of Origin Labeling why? Origin labeling would have been a substantial win for our Montana producers. There are considerable political forces that we will have to combat to get responsible solutions like COOL passed at a federal level.

Montana agricultural products have a competitive advantage. It should be the primary objective of Montana's congressional delegation to fight against political forces and deliver solutions that ensure fair market prices and protect our producers for generations to come.

Should the federal government consider transferring some federally held land into state ownership?

Generally no, in order for me to consider a state transfer, I would require overwhelming public support.

Do you support the Montana Water Rights Protection Act implementing the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes Water Compact in its current form before Congress?

The Montana Water Rights Protection Act does not adequately resolve western Montana water rights. Several issues need to be addressed concerning property rights, and clarity of details with respect to scope and impact before I would move the act forward in the Senate.

Stay tuned for more

We'll be updating this page with new information through Election Day in November 2020.

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