Tim Sheehy, founder of Bridger Aerospace and Ascent Vision, announced Tuesday, June 27, 2023, that he’ll seek the 2024 GOP nomination to challenge Montana Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. Photo courtesy of Tim Sheehy for Montana.
By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press
BILLINGS, Mont. — Former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy announced Tuesday he will seek the 2024 Republican nomination to challenge Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester as the Democrat tries to secure a fourth term.
Sheehy, 37, was recruited by GOP leaders eager to unseat Tester as they try to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats, who hold a slim majority and will have several vulnerable incumbents on the 2024 ballot, including Tester.
Sheehy runs an aerial firefighting company, Bridger Aerospace, which he founded near Bozeman after moving to Montana in 2014. This is his first run for public office, and he said in a telephone interview that his military service and business background will set him apart in the race.
Former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, announced his run for Montana's US Senate seat. Photo courtesy of Tim Sheehy for Montana.
Former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy and family. Photo courtesy of Tim Sheehy for Montana.
Ranking Member Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaks during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, in Washington. Tester says he'll seek reelection to a fourth term in 2024. The Democrat's announcement on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, boosts his party's chances of holding the seat as it tries to hang on to a narrow Senate majority. AP file photo by Alex Brandon.
Tester, 66, won his three prior Senate elections by narrow margins.
Former President Donald Trump campaigned heavily on Rosendale’s behalf in 2018 as Republicans portrayed Tester as too liberal for the state and criticized him for accepting money linked to corporate lobbyists, a practice that's continued.
Tester brought in more than $9 million since his last election and had more than $7 million remaining as of March 31, campaign filings show.
Tester's campaign spent almost $20 million in 2018 race. Money from outside groups drove up overall spending in that race to more than $60 million, shattering prior records for Montana elections.
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