Tester’s not that good, but he’s been lucky. He first won against Denny Rehberg in 2012, and last year beat Matt Rosendale. Rehberg was a terrible candidate, and Rosendale wasn’t much better.
Because Rosendale has some money, he got elected statewide, as Auditor. This apparently made him think he had some political skills. In fact, he’s an awful candidate, phony, mawkish. He tries so hard to be Montanan that it’s pathetic. With Trump’s full-throated support, any half way decent Republican could have won. But Rosendale doesn’t connect with people.
Now the word is out that Rosendale will be running for the U. S. House next year, to take Gianforte’s seat, who’ll be running for Governor. This could mean, and probably does, that Rosendale wants another shot at Tester in 2024. Bad idea. Rosendale has proven he doesn’t have the skill to take out Tester.
There should be at least two alternatives. One is former Speaker Austin Knudsen, who will run for Attorney General next year, positioning himself perfectly for a run at Tester four years later. The other is State Senator Al Olszewski, who will be running for Auditor, also in perfect position.
Olszewski’s a great guy, and a good conservative, but Austin Knudsen is by far the better candidate. He’s 37, with a wife and two kids, and a Montana native and MSU grad, as well as the Montana Law School. His great grandfather immigrated from Denmark in 1917, joined the army, and served in World War One.
He supported legislation opposed by the oil industry, and it cost him his job with one of the few law firms in his part of eastern Montana. He paid a high price for his personal integrity. This is my kind of guy.
I’ve never met Austin, but I hope to later this year. A race for Attorney General of Montana can’t be that hard to win. And after that, it’s Knudsen for Senate in 2024.