Montana conservative firebrand withdraws from Senate race after Trump endorses opponent

 Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., suspended his bid for Montana Senate on Thursday, telling Fox News that former President Donald Trump was a factor that led to his decision.

Rosendale, a well-known conservative firebrand, announced he was running for Senate on Friday in an effort to unseat Democrat Senator Jon Tester.

Just six days later, Rosendale withdrew from the race as his bid stirred the state's Republican primary race, where he was scheduled to challenge former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy for the nomination.

First-time candidate Sheehy received endorsements from Senator Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont.; Montana Governor Greg Gianforte; And Trump.

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"Trump was supporting my opponent and the hill was too high because of the lack of resources," Rosendale said. "I spoke with Senator Daines earlier this week and we both agree that this is the best path for Republicans to regain the majority in the U.S. Senate."

Rosendale said he planned to run for Senate and win both the primary and general election, but on the same day he announced his bid, Trump announced his endorsement of Sheehy.

Despite not receiving support, Rosendale said he would remain a Trump supporter.

When he did not receive the endorsement, Rosendale had to calculate his chances of winning without Trump's support.

"This race was already going to be tough, because I was running against Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican establishment in Washington," he said. "But I thought I could beat him, because voters don't agree on who will be the next U.S. senator from Montana."

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Rosendale said he will return home to Montana to be with his family in the next few days and consider what he will do next.

Sheehy turned to social media after learning of his opponent's withdrawal from the race.

"Matt, Montana is grateful for your service and for showing Washington, D.C. what it means to put a stop to reckless spending," Sheehy said in a post on X. Examiner."

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