HELENA – Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins announced he is running for U.S. Senate on Monday.
He made the announcement at an event in Helena just after noon.
Collins, a Liberian refugee, arrived in the United States in 1994 after fleeing a civil war in Liberia. He first won a political office in 2017 when he defeated four-term Helena Mayor Jim Smith.
He currently works for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and served 14 years as an Army Reservist and eight years with the Navy Reserve.
In the Helena mayoral race Collins, a Democrat, ran on a platform of increasing funding for public safety and addressing homelessness in the Helena community, particularly among veterans.
Collins earned national recognition following his narrow win in 2017. He was among a number of progressive candidates nationwide in traditionally conservative areas. He was also the first black mayor officially elected in Montana.
If he remains unopposed through the primary he is expected challenge Republican Senator Steve Daines in the November 2020 General Election.
Daines served one term in the U.S. House before winning a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2014.