Republican Mike Taylor jumped back into the U.S. senate race in Montana on Tuesday, two weeks after dropping out because of an opposition campaign ad he said made him look gay. Taylor said his limited campaign against Democratic senator Max Baucus would include a statewide bus tour focusing on his Senate bid and on "getting the slander out of Montana politics." Taylor was trailing badly in the polls when he dropped out October 10, complaining that the Democratic Party ad had been calculated to make him look like a crook and a gay hairdresser. The ad accused him of being involved in a scam over student loan money at a Colorado beauty school and included 1980s video of Taylor, wearing an open-front shirt and gold chains, massaging a man's face as the two discussed skin-care techniques. Taylor, a 61-year-old cattle rancher, is a father of two and has been married to his wife, Janna, for 22 years.
Taylor's name remains on the ballot. He said he wanted to give another Republican the chance to make a run at Baucus, who is seeking a fifth term. No one, however, including national GOP chairman and former governor Marc Racicot, has stepped up. Taylor said the 12-day suspension of his campaign was not a strategy to draw attention to his efforts and that he has no plans to resume advertising. His campaign said the party was worried that local GOP candidates would suffer without a Republican in the state's highest-profile race. Taylor said the bus tour is intended to "take back our political system in the name of decency, dignity, and respect." Republicans intend to visit more than 60 towns before Election Day.