Montana Sen. Steve Daines, chair of the Senate GOP campaign arm, blasted his state’s Rep. Matt Rosendale (R) for making the “unfortunate” decision to jump into the Montana Senate race Friday.
“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.
Rosendale announced Friday that he’d filed for Senate in the state, kickstarting a primary battle with businessman and former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy as the GOP looks to pick up the seat held by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.
“Tim Sheehy has my full support because he is the best candidate to take on Jon Tester,” Daines said in his 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 last month that the GOP has “the best map in a decade” for the party to win the Senate majority in 2024, and flagged the Montana race as one of its top opportunities — but Rosendale’s entry into the race could prove a hurdle for Sheehy.
Rosendale wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he’s trying to jump into the upper chamber because “we’ve made great accomplishments in the House, only to see them die at the hands of Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer in the Senate.”
A spokesperson for Sheehy’s campaign responded by lauding both Sheehy and former President Trump as “the conservative warriors we need to put the people of Montana first, drain the swamp, and save our country from the mess Joe Biden and Jon Tester created.”
The Democrats’ Senate campaign arm knocked Rosendale as “another wealthy out-of-state Republican” and said the Montana primary is “shaping up to be a ‘bloodbath.’”