High-profile Republicans in Washington, D.C., and Montana, including the state's governor and the head of the Senate GOP campaign arm, are rallying around a top Senate recruit even as one of Montana's House members is weighing a run.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte on Thursday endorsed Republican Senate hopeful Tim Sheehy, a former Navy SEAL who launched a campaign against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester this week. The endorsement comes as GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale has been considering running for Senate as well.
“Tim Sheehy is a good friend, and I’m glad he decided to run for the U.S. Senate," Gianforte said in a statement circulated by the Sheehy campaign. "Tim’s business experience and commitment to public service is what we need in Washington. I know that Tim Sheehy will serve Montana well in the U.S. Senate, and he has my full support.”
Shortly after Sheehy launched his run, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines, also a Montanan, endorsed Sheehy. Daines also told Politico that he is encouraging Rosendale to stay in the House "to build seniority ... and help Republicans hold their majority."
There other GOP senators — Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma — also endorsed Sheehy this week.
Rosendale lost to Tester by nearly 4 percentage points in 2018. And Tester is once again a top GOP target as Republicans try to flip the Senate next year: He is one of three Democrats up for re-election in states former President Donald Trump won in 2020.
Rosendale's spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Rosendale criticized Sheehy earlier this week, writing on Twitter, "Congratulations to Mitch McConnell and the party bosses on getting their chosen candidate. Now Washington has two candidates — Tim Sheehy and Jon Tester — who will protect the DC cartel."
If Rosendale does jump into the race, that could spark a divisive and expensive primary. Club for Growth, a deep-pocketed conservative group, has signaled it would back Rosendale if he runs. Sheehy is independently wealthy and could spend his own funds on the race.