By CURT WOODWARD/Associated Press Writer
HELENA - Gov. Judy Martz said Monday she hasn't sought financial support for a possible re-election campaign and welcomed possible Republican challengers, including Lt. Gov. Karl Ohs and Senate President Bob Keenan.
Martz told a news conference that she was basing her re-election decision on family and faith. The political calculation of whether she could win ranks last, she said.
However, Martz said her administration has accomplished everything she promised to do in her first campaign.
''Is that what people want, or do they just want someone who talks the talk instead of walks the walk? I don't know. We'll see,'' Martz said.
Republican Secretary of State Bob Brown, state GOP chairman Ken Miller and Ohs have said they're interested in seeking the top job, but are waiting for a decision by Martz.
On Monday, Martz said she told all three not to base their political plans on her decision.
''I think that it's very generous of them to say they'd wait, but I think if they really think they can win and they have what the people of the state of Montana want ... go do it. Don't wait for me,'' Martz said.
Another top GOP leader, Senate President Bob Keenan of Bigfork, told the Kalispell Daily Inter Lake that he is considering a run at the governor's mansion. In Monday's editions, Keenan said he won't necessarily be discouraged from running if Martz does.
Martz said she wasn't surprised by Keenan's announcement, or anyone else's.
''Every person that feels this is an opportunity they want, they should jump in. It is an opportunity of a lifetime, but you'd better be ready,'' Martz said Monday.
And while Keenan claimed to have backers pledging $250,000 to start a campaign, Martz said she hasn't looked for contributors.
''Before I would ask anybody to support me, I'd better know if that's what I want to do,'' Martz said. ''I would not do that to anybody. I think that's unfair to take their money and then say, 'Well, I don't want to do this now.'''
Meanwhile, the only official Republican candidate got some support Monday when Public Service Commissioner Matt Brainard announced he was joining Thomas Keating's 2004 gubernatorial campaign.
Keating and Brainard, both former legislators, spent professional careers in the natural resource industry. They said expanding logging and mining opportunities in the state will be the focus of their campaign.
Keating, 74, said he isn't bothered by challenging an incumbent Republican if Martz chooses to run again for the office.
Keating said he is going to travel around the state the rest of the year, convincing lawmakers of the need to make doing business easier for logging and mining firms.
Brainard, 55, would have been up for re-election in 2004 to his post on the PSC.