Matt Rosendale

Matt Rosendale

HELENA – State Sen. Matt Rosendale, the second Republican to file for the open U.S. House seat, said he stands out among his opponents “as the most consistent supporter of resource development and property rights and gun rights for the citizens of Montana.”

Rosendale, a real estate developer from Glendive, said he has traveled extensively throughout Montana since Nov. 1 in his campaign for the Republican nomination.

“I think the citizens of Montana at this time are looking for someone who’s willing to put character, common sense and conservative values before party, big business or personal enrichment,” he told reporters after paying his $1,740 filing fee to Secretary of State Linda McCulloch.

Former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, R-Billings, was the first congressional candidate to officially enter the race, paying his filing fee on Thursday, the opening day for filing.

Other announced Republican House candidates running are Drew Turiano of Helena and former state Sen. Ryan Zinke of Whitefish. Three other potential Republicans candidates are state Sen. Elsie Arntzen of Billings, former Secretary of State Brad Johnson of East Helena and former U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg of Billings.

On the Democratic side, John Lewis of Helena, a former top aide to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, is unopposed so far.

Rosendale said the people of both eastern and western Montana want natural resource development.

“In the eastern part of the state, we have the opportunity to develop the oil and gas resources, and in western part of the state, we’re struggling with the resources that have been shut down and have been stopped as far as the timber industry and the denial of access to public properties,” he said. “So I would like to be able to work with the federal delegation to provide better access to those properties for the citizens of Montana and to open up the economic development that has been shut down.”

He also said the national deficit and debt “are on the forefront of everyone’s mind and are things we have to address at the federal level.”

Rosendale also said he opposes the federal government using taxpayer dollars “against us in the form of surveillance and the disregard of our privacy.”

Most of his primary opponents are current or former legislators, Rosendale said, so voters will have a chance to look at each of their voting records. After doing that, he said voters will learn “that I consistently stood with the citizens of Montana rather than my own interests.”

Rosendale said he looks forward to having the House Republican candidates debate each other before the primary.

Chuck Johnson is chief of the Lee Newspapers State Bureau in Helena. He can be reached by email at: chuck.johnson@lee.net or by phone at (406) 447-4066 or (800) 525-4920.

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