Former Speaker of the House and current Roosevelt County Attorney Austin Knudsen is seeking the Republican nomination for Attorney General now that Tim Fox has termed out and entered the gubernatorial race.

Knudsen appeared on KGVO’s Talk Back show and spoke critically of the present Attorney General’s leadership especially in the area of crime control.

“There’s definitely the need for some new leadership in the Attorney General’s office,” said Knudsen. “According to the latest crime statistics from 2013 to 2017 violent crime is up 30 percent in Montana. Homicides alone are up, and this is pretty staggering, homicides are up 68 percent in Montana. We’ve got a drug epidemic in this state that’s not being addressed properly and I’ve seen it. I deal with it every day as the Roosevelt County Attorney, and I want to come in there and be more aggressive with these cartels.”

Knudsen was also critical of many of the cases for which Attorney General Fox wrote amicus briefs with other Attorneys General around the country.

“Tim Fox and Jon Bennion joined with 17 Democrat State Attorneys General, and they filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court asking the court to uphold Obamacare,” he said. “I think that’s patently wrong. 22 Republican Attorneys General filed briefs in that case seeking to have Obamacare thrown out as unconstitutional, which I believe it is.”

Knudsen was direct in answering a listener’s question about whom he favors in the Republican primary for governor.

“Attorney General Fox is a very decent man, he’s a very nice man, I like Attorney General Fox personally very much,” he said. “But, to be blunt, nice does not mean that I want him to be my governor. I think there is another candidate who is much more qualified to be the governor, who I think is much more decisive and who I think has a lot more business experience. Let’s get right down to it. The State of Montana is a $10 billion entity. I am familiar with one candidate for governor who is actually used to administering a multi-billion dollar entity, and it’s not Tim Fox.”

Knudsen was obviously referring to Greg Gianforte, who is leaving the U.S. House to pursue the Republican nomination for governor, and is touting his business and executive experience as talents necessary to be the governor.

Also running for Attorney General on the Republican ticket is Fox’s Deputy Attorney General Jon Bennion. On the Democrat ticket, Missoula legislator and attorney Kimberly Dudik is in the race.