Vermillion, Esp facing off in SD 30

Dan Vermillion has surprised some people while knocking on doors over the past few months. He’s a Democrat running for Senate District 30, which covers much of Park and Sweet Grass counties. It’s been a solidly Republican seat for a long time, so having a Democrat on their doorstep catches voters in places like Big Timber off guard.

“There just hasn’t been a strong Democratic candidate running for this Senate seat in quite a while,” Vermillion said. “Who knows if I’m going to win. At the very least, the Democratic presence in Senate District 30 is stronger than it’s been in a long time.”

Vermillion, a fishing outfitter and chairman of the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, has a tough task ahead of him. He’s up against John Esp, a former legislator from Big Timber who spent 12 years in the Legislature — experience that gives him a distinct campaign advantage in a district already tilted his way.