GOP Rep Plots Second Bid Against Vulnerable Dem Senator: REPORT

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Montana Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale is planning on another Senate bid against vulnerable Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in 2024, Politico reported Friday.

Rosendale, who lost to Tester in 2018, has been telling lawmakers he intends to take another swipe at the senator, two sources familiar, who were granted anonymity to speak candidly about the conversations, told Politico. The House Freedom Caucus member didn’t rule out a Senate bid in a statement to Politico, and instead pointed toward a recent poll suggesting he’s heavily favored in a hypothetical GOP primary.

Though Rosendale lost to Tester 50.3% to 46.8% in 2018, the most recent polling suggests the odds favor the congressman in 2024. Rosendale would beat the senator by five points, according to a late February OnMessage Inc. poll.

The Senate race will be determined “by the people across Montana, not Mitch McConnell. This week, PPP released a poll that reflects Montanans took a major step towards that decision,” Rosendale told Politico.

Rosendale is leading former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy by over 50 points for a head-to-head Republican primary, according to a June 19-20 Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey. Rosendale also garnered a favorability rating of 67%, while Sheehy only received 10%.

National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman Sen. Steve Daines of Montana is pushing Sheehy to run against Tester, according to Politico.

“He’s taking a look at the race. He’s giving it careful consideration,” Daines said of Sheehy. (RELATED: GOP Rep Holds Firm Lead Against Incumbent Dem Senator In Deep Red State: POLL)

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 9: Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) speaks to reporters speaks to reporters on his way to a closed-door briefing for Senators about the Chinese spy balloon at the U.S. Capitol. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah are encouraging Rosendale’s senatorial aspirations, with Cruz telling Politico he’d be a “terrific candidate.”

“I sure hope he does,” Lee told Politico of a potential Rosendale run. “We could certainly use him in the Senate.”

Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke was also rumored to run for the Republican nomination, but it appears he’ll likely support Sheehy if he launches a bid, according to Politico.

Along with West Virginia, Ohio, Arizona and Wisconsin, Montana is one of the states where Democrats hold a Senate seat that the GOP views as vulnerable in 2024. Arizona, Ohio and West Virginia are considered toss ups, while the seats held by Tester and Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin are characterized as leaning Democrat, according to the Cook Political Report.

Before his time in Congress, Rosendale was a member of both chambers of Montana’s state Legislature, and went on to serve as the state auditor from 2017 to 2021, according to Ballotpedia. He was overwhelmingly elected to the U.S. House in 2022, beating his nearest opponent by over 30 points.

Neither Rosendale nor Tester immediately responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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