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2018 Election Donald Trump Featured Jon Tester Matt Rosendale Montana Politics Senate Race 2018 US Politics

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Rosendale Campaign

Candidate Matt Rosendale is facing a test to his candidacy unlike any faced by a contemporary Montana candidate.

It’s not just that his accent looms large. Or that the state finds his dishonesty about his job as a rancher almost as distasteful as his total unwillingness to do his job as the State Auditor. Or even that he’s hitched his electoral prospects to the wagon of a dementia-addled, narcissistic, wannabe-autocrat who praises our enemies and condemns our friends when he’s not rage-tweeting into the night about the treason he himself likely committed.

The dilemma-which like the Second Amendment, he does not fully grasp—is that even many Republicans, the kind of people who cheerfully voted for a man who assaulted a reporter the night before an election and who seem to support a Senator entirely devoid of human personality, are working diligently to prevent his election to the Senate.

I would know. I am one of them.

The root of the problem is Rosendale’s total disregard for the people of Montana. Anyone who works with him knows that he’s turned his elected office into campaign headquarters, and when he does deign to show up for work, he makes decisions at odds with the interests of the people of our state.

He endorses the President’s criticism of the free press as the “enemy of the people,” hired the guy who lied about Greg Gianforte assaulting a reporter as his Comms Director, and supports trade policies that are anti-agriculture and anti-Montana.

He excused Roy Moore’s predation of teenaged girls by suggesting that his years of service—which included virulent bigotry, tax fraud, and twice being removed from office excused the behavior.

Don’t get me wrong. There have been bright spots in the near-ceaselessly awfulness of the Rosendale campaign. He was able to beat Russ Fagg to the gutter in their xenophobic primary, got some attention from the national press because a rock band made fun of him, and has managed to get the press in Montana to go lightly on his lies about his profession and affiliation with hate groups.

But these successes have come despite—not because of—the candidate’s leadership style, which is childish, RANDOMLY CAPITALIZED, and filled with VITRIOLIC nonsense–when he bothers to show up, which certainly isn’t often.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive Twitter rants and, when asked how he can be a rancher without owning any cattle, challenges anyone who asks—man, woman, or child—to an immediate fence-building contest on the spot.

Weeks have been lost to building fences, not coalitions of voters. Weeks have been lost watching this video.

Months have been lost watching this.


The result of all this is a two-faced candidate.

Take his support for veterans. Despite claiming he will work for their interests, Rosendale voted against funding veterans homes in Columbia Falls and Butte, against a program to help veterans buy homes, and against even a program to give small scholarships to Montana Purple Heart recipients.

Despite posting pictures of himself being “thankful” for firefighters, Rosendale voted against giving volunteer firefighters workers compensation insurance, against increasing their allowed per diem for expenses, and against giving injured first responders conservation licenses for rehabilitation trips.

He claims to support public lands but supported their transfer. He claims to support students but argued against Pell Grants.

Hell, he claimed to be from Maryland.

Senator McCain, the late Senator frequently maligned by the Facebook group Rosendale administered and the President he unquestioningly admires, put it best in his farewell letter. All Montanans should heed his words and break free of the partisan trap of voting for someone merely because he calls himself a Republican.

The real difference will be made by everyday Montanans, who go to work and do their jobs every day, not once a month, who rise above politics, reach across the aisle and shed their labels in favor of one: Montanans.

And for Montanans, the only choice is a clear choice: re-elect Jon Tester to preserve the dignity afforded and respect deserved the people of this state.

The Montana Post is not taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have not done so at the request of any authors who work for Matt Rosendale. No one in the Office of the State Auditor has seen him in weeks and his campaign staff is all occupied laundering money for his campaign, competing in fence-building contests and fixing his CAPS lock key.

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.

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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