February 9, 2024

Speaker Johnson Reverse Endorsement of Montana Senate Candidate

In a development concerning the Montana Senate race, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) opted to step back from involvement in the GOP primary, averting a potential Republican Party internal conflict.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Johnson initially intended to endorse Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) for the Senate seat. However, following significant backlash from fellow Republicans, Johnson reversed his decision.

"Johnson planned to endorse Rosendale, but after receiving extreme blowback from Trump allies on the Hill, he decided to withdraw and not do it," a source stated. "He told at least one senator, at least one congressman…that he was no longer planning to endorse after the blowback."

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) were reportedly among those informed of Johnson's change of plans.

Zinke confirmed that Johnson would not be endorsing Rosendale, citing concerns over Rosendale's viability against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

Daines, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has backed former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy for the Senate race, alongside Zinke and other prominent GOP figures.

Rosendale, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, is anticipated to enter the race. However, reports suggest that Johnson's intention to endorse him stirred discontent among Zinke, Daines, and others. Rosendale, however, claimed the establishment's fear of his candidacy.

"Speaker Johnson and I have always had a great relationship. I am thankful for his continued support," Rosendale remarked.

"Mitch McConnell and the D.C. Cartel are TERRIFIED about me going to the U.S. Senate. They know they can’t control me; they know I won’t vote for McConnell as Leader. But they are fixin' to find out that in Montana, we don’t take orders from Washington; we send orders to Washington!" he added.

Montana holds significance for the GOP's Senate prospects, with Tester having prevailed in close contests despite the state's increasingly conservative leanings.

Former President Trump's decisive victory in Montana in 2020 underscores its importance. However, Trump has yet to endorse a candidate in the Montana Senate race.

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