Former President Trump on Friday endorsed businessman Tim Sheehy in Montana’s closely-watched Senate race, just hours after Montana Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale filed to join the primary.
Trump called Sheehy an “American Hero” and noted his support from the GOP Senate campaign arm and its chair, Montana Sen. Steve Daines — but he stopped short of going after Rosendale.
“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,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.
“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 … America First Patriot Tim Sheehy has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” the former president said.
Rosendale, a member of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, announced on Friday that he’d filed for a Senate run in the state, kickstarting a bitter primary battle with Sheehy as the GOP gears up to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Jon Tester.
The lawmaker doubled down after Trump backed Sheehy.
“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!” Rosendale wrote on X.
Daines criticized Rosendale’s move.
“It’s unfortunate that rather than building seniority for our great state in the House, Matt is choosing to abandon his seat and create a divisive primary,” Daines said in a statement.
“Whichever party wins the Montana Senate seat will control the United States Senate in 2024, and Republicans cannot risk nominating a candidate who gave Jon Tester the biggest victory of his career,” Daines said. Rosendale notably lost a 2018 Senate bid to Tester.
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