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Libertarian Breckenridge could be a factor in tight U.S. Senate race in Montana

Posted at 3:59 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 17:59:38-04

This is the final segment of a three-part series on Montana’s U.S. Senate candidates

HELENA – Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Rick Breckenridge thinks “every person out there has a Libertarian in ‘em” – but says the hard part is getting them to vote that way.

“We just try to bring that out to people, have them recognize the basic fact that freedom is within you, and that we just have to find the political slot to express that,” he told MTN News.

Breckenridge, 59, a land surveyor from Proctor, is one of three men competing for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat – the highest-profile, most expensive electoral contest in the state this year.

The others are Democratic incumbent Jon Tester and his Republican challenger, Matt Rosendale.

Breckenridge has been running a decidedly low-budget, low-profile campaign.

“The media pretty much ignores you, for a lot of reasons,” he said. “Most of (the campaign) is one-on-one.”

Libertarians in statewide races in Montana usually finish in the single digits, as a percentage of the vote. Breckenridge ran for the U.S. House in 2016 and had 3 percent.

But in a close contest – and Montana’s U.S. Senate race is expected to be tight – Libertarians can be a factor in the final outcome. In Tester’s previous electoral victories, he failed to crack 50 percent of the vote, but still won – and both times, Libertarians took a piece of the total, at 2.5 percent and 6.5 percent.

Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Rick Breckenridge

Breckenridge grew up in southern Oregon but has been living in Montana for most of the past 30 years. He’s done surveying and mapping work for government agencies and now has his own business as a surveyor.

He’s also a U.S. Army veteran, and said he would talk to the front-line employees of the Veterans Administration health system to determine the best way to repair the often-troubled health-care service for military veterans.

Like most Libertarians, Breckenridge says the No. 1 problem facing the country is the federal debt, and that Democrats and Republicans have shown that they’re not serious about tackling it.

“Republicans and Democrats have bequeathed to use 22 trillion reasons to vote Libertarian,” he said, referring to the dollar amount that the debt is approaching. “We gotta get the reins to somebody who can, and we have to bring this back into constitutional bounds.”

When asked where he would cut government spending, Breckenridge said the departments of Education and Housing would be a good start – although he acknowledged they are a small piece of the budget pie.

“We gotta start somewhere,” he said. “And I’ll tell you, I’ll start hacking. I can tell you where all the demons are hidden, and we’re going to find them and we’re going to rat them out.”

Story by Mike Dennison, MTN News

Related: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rosendale: Rein in gov’t, support Trump

Related: Sen. Tester says he often works across the aisle – despite claims to the contrary

Related: Montana’s Libertarian ticket features a land surveyor and an attorney in the 2018 election