Wanzenried drops bid for governor

I just received an e-mail press release from state Sen. Dave Wanzenried, D-Missoula, state that he intends to discontinue his gubernatorial campaign.

Wanzenried said he didn’t meet fundraising goals for the first two quarters of campaign reporting period.

“Before filing paperwork required to begin raising money last November, I set some very ambitious goals in order to run the type of campaign Montanans expect and deserve,” he said.

“For a variety of reasons, through the first two reporting periods, those goals have not been met. I simply have not attracted enough investors to wage a viable a statewide campaign.”

Wanzenried said his most important job is “to continue to work hard to serve and listen to my constituents in Senate District 49.”

Could Wanzenried’s decision be tied to potential gubernatorial candidate and fellow Democrat Attorney General Steve Bullock’s rumored intentions to run for the office?

Wanzenried said in his statement:

“Steve Bullock is a long-time friend — he has the skills to lead our state, preserve our budget surplus and create jobs. I’ve encouraged him to run for Governor and pledged to support him if he does.”

A recent Public Policy Poll indicated that Bullock would be the clear frontrunner in a hypothetical six-way Democratic primary if he chose to run for the office. Bullock lead his nearest opponent, Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, 40-27, although neither men have announced plans to run.

So far Bullock has been tight lipped about his intentions for 2012, but speculation that he will seek the seat vacated by Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer continues to mount. Bohlinger has also indicated that he’s considering running for the office.

On the Republican side, the PPP poll showed former Congressman Rick Hill with a solid lead over his potential opponents in a hypothetical seven-way primary contest. Hill lead nearest opponent Neil Livingstone, a cable TV pundit and terrorism expert, by a margin of 35-15.