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9 in race for U.S. House seat currently held by Rosendale

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Posted at 11:07 AM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-19 13:07:47-05

The U.S. House Eastern District race has nine candidates who have filed or announced they are running in the Republican primary.

It took less than a week forRep. Matt Rosendale’s highly anticipated U.S. Senate run to come to an end.

The question now is whether Rosendale will run for reelection.

Some ran under the assumption he was leaving.

"It's going to be tough," said Dr. Jason Adkins, a former MSU Billings political science professor.

Adkins, who is now an assistant professor of political science at Morehead State University in Kentucky, says with that many in the race it will not take a majority to win the primary.

"The fact that you don't need 50 percent, you only need 30, a third of the vote or slightly more to win is going to be difficult for political experts to figure out who has a chance to win or not."

Still, Adkins says Rosendale as the incumbent would have the advantage if he does enter the race.

So far, none of the nine candidates is dropping out of the race, even knowing Rosendale may run for reelection.

Some were headed to campaign events in eastern Montana this weekend.

"Even with the announcement as it is, I believe Elsie Arntzen in Congress is the best move for eastern Montana,” said Superintendent Elsie Arntzen, R-Mont. “As well as with the blessings of my family.

"I am still moving ahead and running as a candidate for the eastern district of Montana,” said Stacy Zinn. “Nothing has changed thus far."

And right on down the line, most all the others are echoing a similar response unless.

"If Representative Rosendale actually does go and file for his congressional seat, I plan on forging ahead with this campaign.” said Ric Holden.

"I'm in this race, regardless of what happens, because I believe we need a new generation of leadership in Washington to try and turn things around," said Joel Krautter.

"That doesn't change anything for me,” said Ken Bogner. “I'm running for Congress to be that strong conservative fighter."

Candidates Ed Walker and Kyle Austin also tell MTN they're still running.

State Auditor Troy Downing, R-Mont., was the only candidate not to respond to MTN inquiries.

Perhaps the biggest question mark, former Congressman Denny Rehberg.

He tells MTN he still needs to think about what this means for his candidacy.

“Now he still has some advantages,” Adkins said. “But we just don't know what kind of support you will get from the House leadership.

And Dr. Atkins says whether Rosendale enters the race or not, the campaign may be especially challenging for nearly all of the nine.

"They really need to get their names out in front of the public to have a chance especially some of these lesser-known candidates who don't have the statewide profile," said Adkins.

Adkins says whether Rosendale runs or not will not affect the Democrat primary, which currently is between Ming Cabrera of Billings and Kevin Hamm from Helena.