Jan 27, 2012 6:34 PM by Marnee Banks (Helena)
The GOP field in the Montana gubernatorial race is a little smaller, with Jeff Essmann announcing on Friday that he is dropping out of the race.
Essmann, a MT State Senator from Billings, said, "I will devote my energies now and in the future to recruiting, training, and electing conservative Republicans to further our pro-growth policy agenda."
He wrote a letter to his constituents saying:
"Despite the strong support you provided me, the clear-eyed businessman in me had to reckon with two facts. The first, while we raised significant funds, we were unable to meet our fundraising targets for this expensive statewide race; and the second, the need for unity in financial support for the winner of the Republican primary who will immediately face a very liberal Democrat, Steve Bullock, supported by extreme environmentalists and the trial lawyer cartel, who has nearly $300,000 in the bank already and is well on his way to stockpiling $500,000."
Other Republican candidates for Governor include: Rick Hill, Corey Stapleton, Ken Miller, Jim Lynch, Neil Livingstone, James O'Hara, Robert Fanning and Roy Morton.
Steve Bullock and Larry Jent are the two Democratic candidates.
Robert Coate, Ron Vandevender, and Ronald Lassle are the third party candidates.