Scott Sales

Former state Representative Scott Sales said Friday he is running for Joe Balyeat’s Belgrade-area state Senate seat which, so far, will create a three-way primary for the Republicans.

Sales is a Bozeman Republican and three-term state representative who was Speaker of the House in 2007 and House Minority Leader in the 2009 legislative session. He represented House District 68, which covers northern Gallatin County and much of Broadwater County, but was term limited after the 2010 election.

Sales unsuccessfully ran in 2010 for Gallatin County Commission against Commissioner Joe Skinner in the primary election.

Balyeat is term limited, leaving the seat up for grabs. His Senate District includes Belgrade and encompasses House districts 67 and 68, which covers northern Gallatin County and stretches north beyond Townsend.

Sales said he has successfully run for a portion of the Senate district during his former days in the house.

“House district 68 elected me overwhelmingly three times to go back to Helena, and we’ll see if they still have an interest in Scott Sales representing them in the Senate,” he said. “I have a substantial voting record and I’m a somewhat well-known commodity. If they want me, they can vote for me. If they don’t, they have other choices.”

Rep. Ted Washburn, who represented western Gallatin County’s House Dist. 69 for two terms, announced his intentions to run for Balyeat’s Senate Dist. 34 seat this summer. Bozeman firefighter Kurt Bushnell also filed paperwork with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices around the same time.

Sales said he is pitching his familiar brand of conservatism.

“I think the country needs more conservative voices and I have a proven track record of limited government, lower taxes, property rights and individual freedom and responsibility,” he said. “The message hasn’t changed.”

The two-month filing window opens Jan. 12 and if everyone follows through, there will be three-way primary in June.