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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

37 Montana Republican lawmakers back Rosendale for Senate

President Donald Trump and then-Montana Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale at a July 5, 2018 campaign rally in Great Falls, MT.
Sally Mauk
Montana Public Radio

A group of state Republican lawmakers have signaled their support of U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale running for the U.S. Senate. The move is contrary to top Republican officials who handpicked candidate Tim Sheehy.

The 37 lawmakers who signed the letter of support, including the Montana Speaker of the House and Senate President, say they want a conservative in office that will challenge the status quo and Republican establishment.

Rosendale, currently representing Montana’s eastern U.S. House district, has been in the minority of hardline conservatives for several votes, including the holdup of Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s election.

Lawmakers want Rosendale to run for a seat held by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, up for reelection in 2024. On social media Thursday, Rosendale said he is humbled by the support and is carefully considering what’s next.

Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has thrown his support behind Tim Sheehy, an ex-Navy SEAL and owner of Bridger Aerospace in Bozeman. Sheehy and Rosendale would have to face off in the Republican primary, if Rosendale decides to announce a Senate run.

Republicans are lining up to run for Rosendale’s House seat if he decides to vacate it. Current Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen and State Auditor Troy Downing have made their intentions known, but are waiting for Rosendale to decide.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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