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Rep. Matt Rosendale files for U.S. House run after brief Senate campaign

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Rep. Matt Rosendale files for U.S. House run after brief Senate campaign

Feb 24, 2024 | 9:37 pm ET
By Nicole Girten
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Rep. Matt Rosendale files for U.S. House run after brief Senate campaign
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Congressman Matt Rosendale speaks at the Montana GOP's 2024 kickoff event on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, in Helena a day after announcing his U.S. Senate campaign. (Photo by Blair Miller, Daily Montanan)

Rep. Matt Rosendale filed to run for re-election in his U.S House seat Saturday after suspending a short-lived campaign for Senate earlier this month.

A spokesperson for the campaign in a request for comment on the decision to run said the Congressman should have an announcement soon, but is currently working with colleagues on the impending deadline to fund the federal government next week.

Rosendale cited former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of his Senate primary opponent Bozeman Businessman Tim Sheehy, as well funding struggles, for why he was dropping out of the Senate race. Trump had said in his endorsement for Sheehy, just hours after Rosendale filed in the Senate race, he would be willing to endorse Rosendale but only if he ran for re-election in the House.

Sheehy’s endorsements also included U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, as well as Gov. Greg Gianforte, Rep. Ryan Zinke, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other high-profile Republicans. The winner of the Republican primary will go on to face incumbent U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who beat Rosendale for the seat in 2018. The general election for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat may decide the party balance in the nation’s upper chamber.

In a statement after dropping his bid for Senate, the Congressman said the “hill was just too steep.”

“I spoke with Sen. Daines earlier this week and we both agree that this is the best path forward for Republicans to regain the majority in the U.S. Senate,” Rosendale said.

It was long rumored Rosendale would throw his hat in the ring for Senate, with teaser events including a tour with fellow Freedom Caucus member Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, just weeks ahead of his announcement for his Senate run.

Rosendale filed to run in Montana’s second congressional district, as first reported by NBC Montana, in an already crowded field for the Republican party. Some candidates, like State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen, had previously said they wouldn’t run if Rosendale decided to run for re-election in the U.S. House.

Other Republican candidates in Montana’s eastern district include – outgoing state auditor Troy Downing; former Billings lawmaker Ed Walker; Former DEA agent Stacy Zinn; Miles City state Sen. Ken Bogner; former Glendive legislator Ric Holden; former Sidney legislator Joel Krautter; and Kyle Austin of Billings. Former Congressman and Montana lieutenant governor Denny Rehberg announced he would be running  for the seat as well.

Democrats running for the office include – Ming Cabrera of Billings and Kevin Hamm of Helena.