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Rosendale drops Senate bid

Within a week of joining the Montana U.S. Senate race, Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale has withdrawn. His entry followed months of speculation and hints at a potential run, intending to challenge Democrat U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in the upcoming general election.

In a statement, Rosendale acknowledged the  challenges in the race but cited the endorsement of his opponent Tim Sheehy by former President Trump as a decisive factor, stating that the “hill was just too steep.” He expressed his plans to return to Montana soon, be with his family, and “prayerfully consider what is next.”

Several state and national GOP leaders, including U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, Gov. Greg Gianforte, and U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, have already thrown their support behind Sheehy, viewing him as a stronger candidate against Tester. Rosendale, who previously ran for Senate in 2018 and lost to Tester by 3 percentage points, received appreciation from Senator Daines, who emphasized the need for unity among Republicans to defeat Tester.

Sheehy directly addressed Rosendale on social media, expressing gratitude for his service and asserting their collaboration in winning the race against Tester. The Montana Democratic Party Executive Director, Sheila Hogan, criticized Sheehy, labeling him as an out-of-state tech millionaire out of touch with Montana’s values and highlighting concerns about his stance on public lands and ties to China.

Rosendale, with a history of running for various offices since 2010, has served in the Montana Legislature and as state auditor before two terms in the U.S. House. Known for challenging GOP leadership, he launched his Senate campaign pledging to stand up to establishment Republicans. Following his withdrawal, at least eight Republicans expressed interest in running for his U.S. House seat in Montana’s eastern congressional district, and all candidates have confirmed their intent to stay in the House race.

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