Why Is Matt Rosendale So Afraid to Show Us Where He Lives?

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Other than the occasional spittle-flecked cry of MAGA or promise to somehow “Make America Great Again,” the sole idea driving the Rosendale for Senate campaign seems to be a contrived sense of outrage over the news that Senator Jon Tester, rather than paying outrageous rent in D.C. while he works for Montana, made a sensible investment in a D.C. home.  Super PACs not working directly (wink wink) with the Rosendale campaign have produced ads, his Twitter surrogates and their bots wail about it hourly, and Rosendale himself has released an ad excoriating the Senator.

All that would be normal campaign nonsense were it not for a strange corollary fact: Rosendale keeps lying about his houses in his own ads. In the latest, Rosendale strides down a driveway, pretends to pick up the mail, and attacks Senator Tester about his home while standing in front of another house that isn’t his.

American Bridge, taking a close look at the Rosendale ad, discovered that the driveway he’s walking down and the mailbox he’s using as a prop belongs to someone else—that the ad about Jon Tester’s home was filmed in front of another prop.

There are a number of reasons Rosendale might not want to let us see where he really lives. The most obvious is that Rosendale’s $1-$5 million mortgage might be for a home that undercuts his contention that he represents and understands ordinary Montanans in a way that a former school teacher and farmer somehow can’t. Another possibility, given that Rosendale is spending more time on the campaign trail around Montana and D.C., is that he doesn’t have a home in Helena. Given that everyone in Montana politics knows that Rosendale only ran for Auditor so he could run for the Senate, it would certainly make sense for the real estate developer not to have invested heavily in Helena.

This would perhaps not be much of a story except that this is the second time Rosendale has stood in front of a house that wasn’t his own while trying to establish his Montana roots. Back in June, Rosendale, a “rancher” who has never ranched, stood in front of a neighbor’s barn wearing the standard-issue farm jacket of a candidate trying to persuade voters about his Western bona fides.

Why is Rosendale so unwilling to show us the truth?

Given that Mr. Rosendale seems to believe that the personal home ownership of candidates—not healthcare access, not public lands, not our ongoing foreign wars—is the central issue of this campaign, shouldn’t he at least have the authenticity to show us where he lives? I think working Montana farmers and ranchers would love to see just what Rosendale thinks a ranch looks like, and residents of Helena who have noticed that State Auditor Rosendale doesn’t seem to ever make it work might be eager to learn just what makes his commute in our quiet little town so challenging.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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