GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke Ends Speculation, Decides Against Senate Run

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke announced Wednesday that he will not run for Senate in 2024, ending months of speculation about his decision.

A retired Navy SEAL and Secretary of the Interior, Zinke was previously mulling a run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, a key GOP target. Polls had shown Tester leading Zinke, as well as fellow GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale, who is still considering a bid. Zinke is endorsing businessman and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy in the GOP primary.

“Tim Sheehy not only is a war hero, but he also represents the next generation of leadership,” Zinke told Fox News. “He served this country, his wife is a marine, he understands sacrifice, and he also understands success.” (RELATED: The GOP Is Already Tangling Over Who Should Run In 2024)

“In my experience as a commander, anyone can fight. It takes leadership to win. And you have to show leadership,” he added.

Zinke’s support is another feather in Sheehy’s cap. He has also received endorsements from National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman and Montana Sen. Steve Daines, GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale, who lost to Tester in 2018 and is considering another run, has asserted that Sheehy’s deep bench of endorsements is evidence the “McConnell-Biden Establishment” is trying to “protect the DC cartel.”

“I’m going to leave it up to the people of Montana,” Rosendale, who has $1.2 million on hand, told the Daily Caller in February. “Jon Tester does not represent the people of Montana, and has not done so for many years. He has fallen into the swamp trap and he must be replaced in ’24.”

Rosendale has served in Congress since 2021, and was previously state auditor and a member of the Montana legislature. Sheehy, who has never before run for elected office, received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service in Afghanistan. He also deployed to Iraq and South America, and is the founder of Bridger Aerospace, a fire management firm.