- Associated Press - Sunday, June 1, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana’s U.S. Senate election has the potential of helping tip the balance of power if Republicans succeed in taking the seat held for more than three decades by former Sen. Max Baucus. Here are five things to know about the Republican U.S. Senate primary election:

WHO’S RUNNING:

The Republican primary for the open U.S. Senate seat is a three-way race between Susan Cundiff of Missoula, U.S. Steve Daines of Bozeman state Rep. Champ Edmunds of Missoula.

WHO’S GOT THE EDGE:

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 by a wide margin, Daines has a big fundraising and name-recognition advantage over Edmunds and political newcomer Cundiff.

THE MONEY:

Daines has a $2 million war chest. Friends for an American Majority, a group organized by a New York hedge fund manager, has donated nearly $193,000 to the Daines campaign. Edmunds has raised a little more than $28,000, while Cundiff has raised nearly $2,500.

MONTANA’s MOST CONSERVATIVE CONGRESSMAN:

Montana State University political scientist David Parker said Daines‘ voting record during his first year in the U.S. House ranks him as the most conservative representative Montana has sent to the House since World War II.

RACE TO WATCH:

The Montana U.S. Senate race has made top 10 lists of ‘Senate races to watch’ as Republicans try to regain control of the Senate.

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