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In second reversal, Rosendale will not run for House reelection

Montana Republican previously launched and then dropped a bid for Senate

Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., said Friday he will not seek reelection to the House, after previously launching and then ending a bid for Senate.
Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., said Friday he will not seek reelection to the House, after previously launching and then ending a bid for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Matt Rosendale is not running for reelection, again.

Last month, Rosendale announced he would not seek reelection in Montana’s 2nd District and would instead run for the Senate, an office he sought, and lost, to Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in 2018. But after former President Donald Trump endorsed his rival Tim Sheehy in the GOP primary, Rosendale aborted his bid after just six days. A little over a week later, Rosendale announced that he would run for his House seat again. This time, his campaign lasted 10 days.

Rosendale made the dropout announcement on X, formerly Twitter, Friday afternoon, writing that since he filed to run for reelection, he had “law enforcement visit my children because of a death threat against me and false and defamatory rumors against me and my family. This has taken a serious toll on me, and my family. Additionally, it has caused a serious disruption to the election of the next representative for MT-02.”

“The current attacks have made it impossible for me to focus on my work to serve you,” he wrote. “So, in the best interest of my family and the community, I am withdrawing from the House race and will not be seeking office.”

Even before he officially entered the Senate race, Rosendale was expected to make a run and other candidates were preparing to seek his House seat. In February, after he officially said he was running for Senate, former Rep. Denny Rehberg, who is also a former lieutenant governor, joined the field of House candidates. Through Dec. 31, eight candidates had raised between $1,500 and $353,000, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. Rosendale had $1.7 million in his account.

State Auditor Troy Downing, who had put $150,000 of his own money into a House campaign account and raised another $200,000, formally announced his candidacy on Friday.

“It is time we send a pro-wall, pro-gun, and pro-America conservative to Congress to stand with President Donald Trump and get results for Montanans,” Downing said in a statement.

After Rosendale decided to reenter the House race, allegations arose that he was pressuring other candidates to drop out and vice versa. One Republican vying for the seat, Superintendent of Instruction Elsie Arntzen, said Tuesday she was remaining in the race and called it a “blatant lie” to suggest she told Rosendale she would drop out if he ran again.

Rosendale was elected to the House in 2020 after a stint as Montana’s state auditor and six years in the state legislature. He’s an outspoken Trump ally who moved to Montana from Maryland in 2002. To the delight of his political opponents, Rosendale never managed to drop his Baltimore accent, leading them to call him “Maryland Matt” in attack ads.

The deadline to file to run in the June 4 primary is Monday.

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