Matt Rosendale’s declaration of candidacy for the Senate poses a challenge to Republicans hoping to secure the seat in 2024.

GOP Representative Matt Rosendale of Montana, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, announced his candidacy for Senate on Friday. In a video posted on X, Rosendale asked for support in his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester. He will face off against Tim Sheehy, a veteran and wealthy businessman who announced his candidacy last June and is backed by National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Daines had previously tried to clear the Republican field for Sheehy, but Rosendale’s decision to run has caused a rift within the party. Some, like House Speaker Mike Johnson, initially planned to endorse Rosendale before backpedaling. In his video, Rosendale addressed this, saying, “Speaker Johnson and I have always had a great relationship. I am thankful for his continued support.” He also took aim at McConnell and the “D.C. Cartel,” stating that they are “terrified” of him going to the Senate because they know they can’t control him and he won’t vote for McConnell as leader.

Rosendale’s decision to run has caused concern among national Republicans, who see Sheehy as having more general election appeal. However, Rosendale is confident in his chances, stating, “They are fixin’ to find out that in Montana, we don’t take orders from Washington; we send orders to Washington!”  

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