Former President Donald Trump endorsed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tim Sheehy on Friday, only hours after Sheehy officially got a challenger in the primary.
U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale jumped into Montana’s Senate primary earlier in the morning, after many months of teasing a bid.
“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,” Trump said in a statement on Truth Social. “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.”
Sheehy and Rosendale are vying for the Republican nomination to take down incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. The GOP sees flipping Montana’s Senate seat as a vital part of taking back control of the chamber in November. Former Secretary of State and past chair of the Public Service Commission Brad Johnson is also running in the primary.
Jessi Bennion, a political science professor at Montana State University, said she does not think Rosendale is “toast” after Trump weighed in, but called Trump’s support “huge.”
“I still think this can be a close primary but the Trump endorsement is huge no doubt,” she said. Trump won Montana by 16 points in 2020 and more than 20 points in 2016.
Rosendale quickly responded to Trump’s announcement.
“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,” he wrote in a post on X. “I’m going to win this primary, defeat Jon Tester in November and together we will Make America Great Again!”
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