Vulnerable Montana senator won’t seek re-election: ‘Resign or lose,’ says state GOP

Sen. John Tester, Montana’s only Democrat to hold a statewide office, is currently not seeking re-election. The Montana senator is up for a fourth term in 2024, and Republicans will focus on holding that seat as they fight to regain their majority in the Senate next cycle.

During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, the Montana Democrat was pressed on his re-election ambitions, but declined to say whether he would seek re-election in 2024.

A spokesperson for the senator’s office told Fox News that Tester will make a final decision after the New Year.

Tester is one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the next election cycle, representing a state that voted +16 for former President Trump in 2020 and saw a string of GOP victories in the 2022 midterm elections.


“If the last two election cycles are any indication, running as a Democrat across the state of Montana in 2024 is going to be a tough job,” Ashley Strong, a Montana native and former Republican Senate and House leadership adviser, told Fox.

“Republicans now hold every constitutional office, dominate the state legislature, and hold three of the four federal offices. Retirement allows Senator Tester to leave on his own terms.”

In addition to Tester’s seat, Democrats face headwinds elsewhere in the country as they try to maintain stability. razor-thin Senate majority In the 2024 elections. The party will defend 23 out of 34 seats in the Senate at the next stage. Seven of the 23 Democratic candidates for re-election represent states that former President Trump won in 2016 or 2020.

Sen. John Tester, D-Mont., will seek a fourth term in the U.S. Senate if he decides to seek re-election in 2024.
(Ting Shen/Bloomberg)

Montana GOP Chairman Don “K” Kaltschmidt told Fox in response to the senator’s NBC appearance that “it appears Sen. Tester is trying to decide whether to retire or lose.”

While there is no specific Republican candidate running against Tester, Montana State Representative Matt Rosendale and Congressman-elect Ryan Zinke have both been considered as GOP candidates.

Rosendale, who has represented Montana’s 2nd Congressional District since 2021, ran for U.S. Senate against Tester in 2018 and lost by a narrow margin. Rosendale has expressed interest in a rematch with Tester, but has yet to announce his candidacy.

Rep. Ryan Zinke, newly elected to Montana’s 1st Congressional District in the 2022 midterm elections, has also expressed interest in the seat, but told The Associated Press he won’t decide on a Senate run until next year.

Rosendale and Zinke did not respond to requests for comment.

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