May 19, 2024

Congressman Matt Rosendale (R-MT) has had a whirlwind month. 

In mid-February, he announced he would challenge Sen. John Tester (D-MT). Tester is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, especially in an election cycle that has an overabundance of vulnerable Democratic Senators

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However, Rosendale withdrew his bid a week later.


READ MORE:

‘Conservative Firebrand’ Matt Rosendale Announces Bid for Jon Tester’s Montana Senate Seat

Throwing It in Reverse: Matt Rosendale Abruptly Drops Montana Senate Bid


Then, this month, Rosendale announced his re-election bid for his House seat. However, on Friday, he withdrew from the race under strange circumstances.

In his statement, Rosendale alludes to “false and defamatory rumors” as the reason for his exit, saying he’s also faced death threats. “This has taken a serious toll on me, and my family. Additionally, it has caused a serious disruption to the election of the next representative for MT-02.”

Rosendale’s district is still expected to stay in Republican hands.

The “false and defamatory rumors” appear to stem from a recent podcast appearance by former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, in which she alleged that Rosendale impregnated a staffer. 

Heitkamp, a Democrat who lost her seat to Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in 2018, made the allegation during an appearance on the “Talking Feds with Harry Litman” podcast. Rosendale dropped out of the race a few days ago, about a week after he officially announced he would run. It’s still unclear if he plans to seek reelection to his House seat.

“I think [the GOP] caucus may lose a member in the next couple days,” Heitkamp alleged. “Just to gossip a little bit: There’s a reason why Rosendale backed out of that Senate race — the rumor is he impregnated a 20-year-old staff person.”

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Rosendale’s office adamantly denied the rumor.

“This is 100% false and defamatory and former Senator Heitkamp will be hearing from our lawyers soon,” Ron Kovach, a spokesperson for Rosendale (R-Mont.), told POLITICO in a statement.

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