Rosendale withdraws from US House reelection due to rumors and death threat.

Montana's Helena  Montana Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale abruptly quit his reelection candidacy on Friday, the second time in a month the hardline conservative legislator has entered and then left a congressional race.

Rosendale retired in January 2025 due to defamatory rumors and a death threat that forced him to call police to check on his children. “This has taken a serious toll on me and my family,” Rosendale wrote on social media, adding that “the current attacks have made it impossible for me to focus on my work to serve you.”

Rosendale is in his second House term. Although Republican leaders had endorsed former Navy SEAL and businessman Tim Sheehy, he registered for the Republican candidacy for the Senate seat held by Democrat Jon Tester on Feb. 9. Rosendale was backed by dozens of conservative state lawmakers, and his Senate run threatened to split the party before the June 4 primary.

Rosendale withdrew from the Senate contest six days later under pressure from GOP leaders, citing former President Donald Trump's endorsement of Sheehy and his failure to collect enough money. He registered for reelection to his House seat on Feb. 28, “at the urging of many, including several of the current candidates.”

Rosendale is a hard-right Republican and House Freedom Caucus member. He ousted Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy with seven other party members in October. He supports Trump, voted against certifying the 2020 election, and cosponsored legislation with Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz to defund Jack Smith's inquiry into Trump's Mar-a-Lago handling of confidential data.

Maryland native Rosendale was easily elected to the House in 2020 and two years ago by Montana voters. He resigned because many Republicans entered the race after Rosendale was expected to not run again. Former Rep. Denny Rehberg, Montana Auditor Troy Downing, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, who declared she would run only if Rosendale did not, are among them.

Democrats have struggled in the district since it was redesigned for the 2022 election when Montana received a second congressional seat due to population growth. That year's party nominee, former state senator Penny Ronning, finished third in the general election with 20%, behind Rosendale and Independent Gary Buchanan.

Democrats could benefit from Rosendale's departure in November since their nominee won't face an incumbent. They stand long odds due to the district's conservatism. “This is our moment, Montana,” Democratic House candidate Ming Cabrera emailed supporters an hour after Rosendale's statement. “The odds of flipping this seat and giving it to a Montanan have never been better.”

Washington GOP officials chose Sheehy over Rosendale in the Senate election because they thought the political rookie could upset Tester and take control of the Senate. Democrats have a narrow majority in the chamber and several vulnerable incumbents, including Tester, on the November ballot.

Rosendale lost the 2018 election to Tester despite President Trump's frequent visits to the state. Montana Republican Party Chairman Don “K” Kaltschmidt thanked Rosendale for his years of service Friday. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Kaltschmidt said.