Zinke Endorses Tim Sheehy for U.S. Senate

Political newcomer already had support of governor for Republican nomination to challenge Tester in 2024

By Beacon Staff
U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke appears at a bill signing event at the Old Courthouse in Kalispell on June 9, 2023. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke, who represents Montana’s western district, announced Wednesday that he is endorsing Tim Sheehy in the race to unseat incumbent senior Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., in 2024.

“In 2015 I had the honor of pinning his Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and today I have the honor of endorsing Tim Sheehy to be Montana’s next U.S. Senator,”  Zinke said in a press release. “Tim’s entire life has been dedicated to the service of our great nation.”

Sheehy, a former Navy SEAL, announced last month that he would seek the Republican nomination to challenge Tester as the Democrat runs for his fourth term. Sheehy was recruited by GOP leaders, including Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“Tim Sheehy is a decorated veteran, successful businessman, and a great Montanan,” Daines said in a prepared statement after Sheehy announced. “I could not be happier that he has decided to enter the Montana Senate race.” 

Sheehy has also been endorsed by Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte.

Meanwhile, conservative eastern Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale has indicated to lawmakers in both chambers that he also plans to run for the nomination to challenge Tester, according to a story published in POLITICO late last month. He pointed to a poll that showed him with a sizable lead in a hypothetical primary matchup and told the Washington, D.C.-based publication that the Senate race will be decided “by the people across Montana, not (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell.” 

Sheehy, 37, is a political newcomer and runs an aerial firefighting company, Bridger Aerospace, which he founded near Bozeman after moving to Montana in 2014. 

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