Montana Republican businessman and former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy announced his candidacy Tuesday to unseat Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in 2024, according to a campaign video.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman Sen. Steve Daines has been encouraging Sheehy to enter the GOP primary field, where he could face House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Matt Rosendale. Sheehy drew on his time serving in Afghanistan after 9/11, as well as his entrepreneurship in Montana, while pledging to focus his campaign on “service, God and country,” according to the video.
“Whether it was in war or business, I see problems and solve them. America needs conservative leaders who love our country, and that’s why I’m running for the United States Senate,” Sheehy said in the video. “I want to create a better future for my kids, and your children and grandchildren. Our campaign is about service, God and country, not politics as usual.”
Following his time as a Navy SEAL, Sheehy starting an aerial firefighting company and a ranching operation, according to the video. Sheehy promises to “restore American greatness” by bolstering the economy, reducing inflation and creating more high-paying jobs, his campaign website reads.
Sheehy could face a stiff primary opponent with Rosendale, as the most recent polling indicates the congressman leads the former Navy SEAL by over 50 points for a head-to-head matchup, according to a June 19 – 20 Public Policy Polling survey. Sheehy garnered only a 10% favorability rating, while Rosendale received 67% support.
Though Rosendale ran against Tester in 2018 and lost by 3.5 points, the most recent polling suggests the congressman would beat the senator 46% to 41%, according to a late February OnMessage Inc. poll. Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah are welcoming Rosendale to enter the race. (RELATED: GOP Rep Plots Second Bid Against Vulnerable Dem Senator: REPORT)
Montana is one of the states with a Democratic-held Senate seat that the GOP views as vulnerable in 2024, along with West Virginia, Ohio, Arizona and Wisconsin. The Cook Political Report characterizes Tester and Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin’s seats as leaning Democrat, with Arizona, Ohio and West Virginia labeled as toss-ups.
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