And Maryland Matt Rosendale Enters the Senate Race

In news even less surprising than that he has been terrible at his job as State Auditor, Maryland real estate developer Matt Rosendale has entered the Republican primary to run against Senator Jon Tester next year.

Rosendale’s entry is, admittedly, bad news for Montana Democrats who would like to see the party expand its messaging beyond this issue of public lands because Rosendale is worse than Zinke, Daines, and Gianforte combined on the issue. He’s on record calling federal ownership of lands unconstitutional, has attended crackpot conferences that equate environmentalism with fascism and has cozied up to Ken Ivory and his American Lands Council. If Rosendale manages to win the primary, public lands will be at the forefront of yet another race here in Montana.

Rosendale is also going to be vulnerable when it comes to health care. While the non-existent, Fox News created monster of Obamacare isn’t popular in Montana, the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that keep our rural hospitals running, provide health care for at least 70,000 Montanans, and ensure that those with preexisting conditions can keep their coverage are popular and entirely necessary.

Rosendale is an extremist on the issue, arguing just last week that there should be a straight repeal of the law, even if that meant no gradual transition for those on Medicaid, allow coverage for kids until they are 26, or protect those already ill. Instead, Rosendale has used his brief time in office to shill for religious health cooperatives that can decide to deny coverage to people if they decide the participants are not leading moral lives.

Rosendale is also an enemy of public schools, voting against the interests of students and the public schools that hold our small towns together at every turn. He’s opposed to women’s health, the rights of the LGBTQ community, and even voted against the bill that finally removed same-sex sexual activity from the list of criminal acts in Montana. We’ll certainly be talking a lot more about his reactionary social views here over the next few months.

While Republicans in Montana seem to have fallen in love with deep-pocketed transplants to the state, it will be interesting to see if a man who pronounces Bozeman the way Rosendale does and who holds such extremist views can connect with Montana voters. During his campaign for Congress, he was forced to fund his own bid, a debt he is still working to pay off, and only received 6,188 votes for the over one million dollars he poured into his campaign.

In another fascinating ethical lapse for a sitting judge, Republican Russell Fagg suggested yesterday that Rosendale hadn’t been in Montana long enough to understand its needs:

Billings Judge Russell Fagg, a former state legislator who is considering his own Senate run, took a jab at Rosendale’s residency in Montana. Fagg said his “four generations of Montana roots, all the way back to the late 1800s” puts him in a better position to understand the problems faced by Montanans.

It’s going to be a real challenge for Rosendale to overcome the perception that he is an extremist more interested in his personal views than in representing the state and its people. It’s going to be even harder to overcome the reality of his record.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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  • You sure that Montanans are happy with the ACA in its’ current form?


    “* Obamacare remains a largely divisive issue, with 51 percent of voters disapproving of the president¹s signature piece of domestic legislation and 54 percent wanting to see it delayed or defunded (just 39 percent wanted it implemented as is).”

    “* Overwhelmingly, 94 percent of voters consider it fair that the Congress be required to abide by the same law they passed for the country. Conversely, 92 percent of voters believe it is unfair that the Congress should be exempt from buying their insurance in the health exchanges.”-Independent Women’s Poll

    Tester just may be losing his premium health care coverage.

    • Probably best to not waste time on this. We all know what movie that is, what actor it is. The childish responses you get from the writer of this article are par for the course. We’re used to him not admitting obvious truths, like Dems are not doing well in the state, or that gun control is not a winning issue. Why should we be surprised when he won’t even admit who’s in the photo that he went out and found? Maybe later we can watch Don have a tantrum, maybe break some toys and run to his room to slam the door. That’s what my 6-year-old does, and these responses remind me of that mindset.

      • Says the guy who makes $12,000 a year writing fantasy novels. Maybe you’re not ideally positioned to lecture anyone about being an adult.

        Still don’t know what you’re talking about with the picture, though. Would love some of that deep research you do.

  • Everything is great when folks agree with each other. On this Blog, when disagreements surface, things get petty really fast. Its kind of embarrassing to read actually.

  • By the way Don, that is Micheal Douglas in the movie Falling Down. When I saw the photo, I thought you must have had some particular reason for using it. Apparently not. Watch the movie. I’m sure you’ll love it.

  • I looked up Matt Rosendale. I do admit there is a passing resemblance. But jeez Don. I would think you would be a little more careful than that. Or did you do it on purpose?

    • I’d like to imagine that you’re smart enough to realize I chose the picture as a way to highlight what I think about Mr. Rosendale.

      That’s why I picked this unflattering one.

  • You can imagine what ever you’d like. I do have to say though, you have a pretty nasty way of conversing with people.

  • It’s just pretty damn rare to see. And I’m one of the special few. There you go. I think you just contradicted yourself.

  • Pete. I have to say, you’re posts are much more level headed and so much less combative than Don’s are.

  • I do belive others have noticed this as well. And have stated it on this site. Apparently Don is not willing to take this into consideration. I’m sure he considers these folks to be well below his station in life.

    • Jeff,

      If your goal is to be a troll, you’re succeeding.

      If you’d like to discuss something more substantive than your perception of my personality, you’re welcome to. Would that be so hard?

  • EDIT: Jeff is taking a timeout from the site until he can learn to talk about the issues in the posts, not personalities. You can try back in week.

  • Don,

    Have you ever talked to Matt personally? As a Debate coach I can only imagine you respect the process that allows a back and forth conversation. Or is this another blog that makes statements without giving the prey a chance to respond?

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