HELENA, Montana–Rancher and state auditor Matt Rosendale won the Montana Senate Republican primary on Tuesday, telling Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) “is not a moderate Democrat, he is part of the swamp.”
The Montana primary featured a competitive race between Rosendale and former judge Russell Fagg. Fagg had an early lead in the polls thanks to strong support in Yellowstone county and surrounding counties, while Rosendale had support from counties all over the state of Montana.
At 12:04 a.m. ET Wednesday, Rosendale took the lead over Fagg in the polls, leading to cheers and applause from the Rosendale headquarters.
The Montana Republican’s victory on Tuesday night signifies a surging wing of conservative and populist candidates who have won their respective primaries, including West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Mark Harris, who defeated the incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC).
Sen. Rand Paul, who endorsed Rosendale for U.S. Senate, explained to Breitbart News why Montanans should support the state auditor for U.S. Senate. Paul said:
Matt Rosendale is the type of fearless defender of liberty I want fighting by my side in the US Senate. We need more lovers of liberty in the Senate. Matt has proven himself a bold defender of our constitutional rights and a champion of limited government. The people of Montana would be well served by sending Matt Rosendale to Washington!
Rosendale was the only Senate Republican primary candidate to have U.S. senators endorse him. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) also endorsed Rosendale for U.S. Senate. More than 30 Montana-elected officials have also endorsed Rosendale.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Rosendale credited his authenticity as a candidate and aa a politician for why three conservative senators endorsed him.
“I think it’s basically because they know that they know that I serve the way that I campaign,” Rosendale said.
Fagg resorted to negative campaign ads in the last few weeks of the Montana GOP primary to make up for the significant gap between him and Rosendale.
Rosendale told Breitbart News that Fagg resorted to negative attacks out of desperation.
The Montana state auditor said, “I think what happens is that you go through a campaign, and I made a decision early on that our race was against Jon Tester and that’s what I’ve focused on, a very professional campaign, It’s extremely well organized. Everyone was very cordial until the polling information came out, and when the polling information came out and reality set in that we had such as an incredibly large lead over any of the opponents, that’s when they all came out with their negative attacks. That’s all they had. If you cannot run on your achievements or your accomplishments, then you have to run on trying to tear down the other person. I expect the exact same to happen with the general election.”
Matt Rosendale led by roughly double digits in the Montana Senate Republican primary, according to recent polls.
During a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, President Donald J. Trump labeled Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) a “tool” of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Rosendale contended that Tester serves as a similar supporter of Schumer.
“He [Tester] came around and tried to act like he was a good ‘ol boy from Montana and yet the vote record shows that he’s a very loyal vote for Chuck Schumer,” Rosendale explained to Breitbart News. “He started off his campaign trying to say that he was actually a moderate and was with president Trump on many occasions. And then, he used one of the typical Washington, D.C. smear tactics to torpedo the president’s nominee, Ronnie Jackson, for Veterans Affairs. That’s when the president came out and took it as a personal attack and said, ‘No Jon Tester is not a moderate Democrat, he is part of the swamp.’ Now he said that Montana was one of his primary goals that helps to flip a seat over to the Republicans.”
Rosendale added, “I can tell you that Jon Tester cannot campaign on his record. His strategy has to be one of denial. He has to deny the reality that the VA [Veterans Affairs Department] is in shambles. He has to deny the reality that Obamacare is a train wreck, or that Neil Gorsuch has been a positive influence on the Supreme Court, and that there’s more money in the Montanan’s pockets because of tax reform.”
Rosendale then pivoted towards the 2018 midterm elections, suggesting that Democrats will not sweep the elections in a “blue wave.”
“I don’t see a blue wave, in fact, the only blue wave I see is washing up on the beach in Hawaii,” Rosedale said. “We have an awful lot of Republicans across this country that are energized because they see that the Democratic party is nothing more than the party of opposition, and they are trying to stop this agenda and that is very good for our nation.”
Rosendale concluded his interview with Breitbart News, saying, “It would be very easy for me to go back to my ranch, chase cattle, and tend to my garden, but there’s work that needs to be done. The margin in the United States Senate is too small, slim for us to take a chance on letting the Democrats take control of it and torpedo the president’s agenda. I’m willing to go up here and do this work and take on Jon Tester and send him back to that million dollar home he bought up in Washington, D.C.”