Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale has ended his bid for Senate less than a week after launching his campaign, citing former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of his Republican primary opponent.

“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,” Rosendale said in a statement Thursday. He added that with a lack of resources and the former president’s endorsement “the hill was just too steep.”

Just hours after Rosendale announced his run Friday, Trump endorsed retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, who has the backing of several high-profile Republicans, in the race to take on vulnerable Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

However, Trump added that he would back Rosendale should he run for reelection to his House seat in Montana’s 2nd Congressional District. The congressman did not say Thursday whether he plans to do so, and a number of prominent Montana Republicans have already filed for his deep-red seat.

Politico was first to report that Rosendale was ending his Senate bid.

With Rosendale’s exit, Republican will avoid what was expected to be a contentious primary. Several Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Montana Sen. Steve Daines, who leads the Senate GOP campaign arm — have backed Sheehy as the party looks to flip the chamber in November.

Montana, along with West Virginia and Ohio, is one of three Senate seats Democrats are defending in states twice won by Trump.

Rosendale’s candidacy sparked concern among Republicans that if he — a member of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus who lost an earlier Senate bid to Tester in 2018 — emerged as the primary winner, they would be far less likely to win the seat in November.

First elected to the House in 2020, Rosendale previously served in the Montana Legislature and as state auditor. He moved to Montana in 2002, and the former land developer’s Maryland roots were a frequent target of Democratic attacks in his 2018 race against Tester, which the incumbent won by less than 4 points.

CNN’s Rashard Rose, Shania Shelton, Annie Grayer and Simone Pathe contributed to this report.


Leave A Reply

© 2024 Time Bulletin. All Rights Reserved.