Rep. Matt Rosendale Drops Senate Bid

By Jerry McConway, updated on February 16, 2024

The Senate race in Montana has just been turned on its ear.

Almost immediately after Donald Trump endorsed another candidate, Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) announced that he was suspending his Senate campaign.

Talking Points…
- Trump issues endorsement
- Rosendale drops out
- Analysis

Donald Trump Announces Montana Senate Endorsement

The Montana primary race was set to be an ugly one, with what most people thought would be a Senator McConnell (R-KY) v. Trump battle. Tim Sheehy, a local Montana businessman and former Navy SEAL and aerial firefighter, had already gotten the attention of Senator McConnell. The other candidate, Rep. Rosendale, is a member of the Freedom Caucus and is all in on MAGA.

Then, last Friday, Donald Trump surprised everyone by endorsing Sheehy and snubbing Rosendale, whom Trump has supported in previous elections. Trump posted on Truth Social:

“I LOVE MONTANA! Tim Sheehy is an American Hero and highly successful Businessman from the Great State of Montana. He is strongly supported by our incredible Chairman of the NRSC, Steve Daines, and many other patriotic Senators and Republicans who have endorsed our Campaign to, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! I also respect Matt Rosendale, and was very happy to Endorse him in the past - and will Endorse him again in the future should he decide to change course and run for his Congressional Seat.

“But in this instance, Tim is the candidate who is currently best-positioned to DEFEAT Lazy Jon Tester, and Regain the Republican Majority in the United States Senate. Tim is a Political Outsider, Strong on the Border, the Military/Vets, and our constantly under siege Second Amendment. He will stand tall in the fight against the Radical Left Democrats, who are Destroying our Country. Also, he is far more likely to Defeat Lazy Jon. America First Patriot Tim Sheehy has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Rosendale Drops Out

After the endorsement, Rosendale pushed back against the Trump endorsement of Sheehy, posting on X:

“I love President Trump. But he needs actual fighters in the U.S. Senate to enact his Agenda 47 – and that’s me and not Mitch McConnell’s hand pick, Tim Sheehy. I’m going to win this primary, defeat Jon Tester in November and together we will Make America Great Again!”

That immediately drew criticism from Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), who ripped Rosendale for not respecting Trump’s endorsement, and instead of “building seniority” in the House, he chose to “abandon his seat and create a divisive primary.”

Senator McConnell then jumped in, stating that he would be “involved” in the primary, which is not the norm for McConnell, but he wanted to help push Sheehy over the finish line, which led to Rosendale deciding to end his campaign, stating:

“I have long been a supporter of the president, and remain so. But I have been forced to calculate what my chances of success would be with Trump supporting my opponent. This race was already going to be tough, as I was fighting against Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican establishment in Washington.

“But I felt like I could beat them, as the voters do not agree with them choosing who would be the next U.S. Senator from Montana.”

Analysis

Rosendale can still run for re-election in the House, as he has until March 11 to file, but he stated that he will “prayerfully consider what is next.” This has to sting for Rosendale, who has been fiercely loyal to Trump, but Trump decided to look past that loyalty and add another millionaire businessman to the team.

So, now we have the rare situation where Trump and McConnell are on the same page, backing the same candidate for a key seat to try to remove Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) from a seat he has occupied since 2007. This race has suddenly become the measuring stick of 2024 for just how much influence Donald Trump has with voters.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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