Former MT Secretary of State announces presidential candidacy

Montana State News Bureau

Last week, former Secretary of State Corey Stapleton said he was running for President of the United States.

Since his 2017-2021 tenure as Secretary of State, Republican Stapleton ran in the primary for the US house race in Montana, losing to current US Rep. Matt Rosendale in the 2020 primary. He first announced a candidacy for governor in that election, but moved to the federal race after the current governorship. Greg Gianforte said he is looking for the post at the state level.

After leaving elected office, Stapleton, 55, formed a band called Corey Stapleton and The Pretty Pirates. He announced a “Testing the Waters” committee to consider a presidential candidacy earlier this year.

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He also served in the state Senate and served 11 years in the US Navy and is a graduate of the US Naval Academy.

Citing his campaign motto, “Pay it Forward,” Stapleton said in a press release last week that he wants to lower the national debt.

“We are failing our children and grandchildren by accumulating massive government debt and stealing part of their future. Our children deserve the freedom and prosperity that we older Americans have inherited. The dollar stops here,” Stapleton said.

The press release also referred to his second music album. In October he submitted organizational documents to the Federal Electoral Commission. He has not yet submitted any fundraising information.

The press release states that Stapleton believes music can bring people together.

“We’re more alike than we’re different,” Stapleton said in the press release. “If you look at the past few years in America, we see chaos, dysfunction, dishonesty, disappointment. It doesn’t have to be like this. We’re better than that.”

As Secretary of State, Stapleton was one of the first Montana Republicans to publicly acknowledge the loss of former GOP President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential campaign. Trump announced earlier this week that he plans to run for president again in 2024.

While serving as Secretary of State, Stapleton was subpoenaed by the Legislative Audit Division for misusing a state vehicle to drive home to Billings over the weekend in 2017 and 2018, costing $5,700.

He was also criticized for winning a $265,000 contract to fix errors in a voter’s guide for a political ally.