Other candidates may say what they want to do if they are elected, U.S. House candidate Matt Rosendale says, but he can point to his record in the Montana Legislature and his four years as state auditor to show what he has done.
Rosendale was in Havre on Wednesday to address the Hill County Pachyderms, the local Republican group. He met with The Havre Herald afterward.
Rosendale likes to say to people, “If you like what I have done, then please send me to Washington so I can deliver the same type of results for you from Washington, D.C.”
When he ran for auditor four years ago, he promised he would reduce insurance rates, cut regulations, reduce expenses in his office, cut the size of the staff, and work for the creation of primary care centers throughout the state. All of that has been accomplished, he said.
Expenditures are down 23 percent from when Democrat Monica Lindeen was in office, he said, and the staff has been reduced by 10 percent.
Rosendale appears to be the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, who is running for governor. Other congressional candidates include Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, former Lewis and Clark County Republican Chair Joe Dooling, former Montana Republican Chair Debra Lamm, John Evankovich of Butte, and Mark McGinley of Dillon. The winner will face the victor of a two-way Democratic primary.
Rosendale estimates the race will cost more than $5 million. He set a goal of raising $1 million by Jan. 1 and succeeded. He has $830,000 on hand, far more than any other Republican candidate.
Rosendale dismisses charges from opponents — who have raised far less — that a great portion of campaign money is coming from out-of-state interests.
“You have to have that if you’re running for federal office,” he said.
It’s necessary to tap into sources outside of Montana to raise the amount such a race requires, and it’s not an indication that he lacks support from within the state, he said.
“I got overwhelming support,” he said.
He said he is most proud of the Montanans who have backed his candidacy. Fifty past and present Montana legislators have supported him. Four congressional leaders have donated to his campaign.
Raising money has been easier, he said, because he has received big-name support as well.
President Donald Trump has tweeted his support for Rosendale, and the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., has endorsed him. The president came to Montana four times in 2018 in support of Rosendale’s failed bid to unseat Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana.
It’s important not only that the president has his back, he said, but that Rosendale has “his ear.” When there’s an issue, such as a possible coronavirus outbreak in Montana, “that is very beneficial to the people of Montana.”
Rosendale touts his support of programs to deter elder abuse.
Most common, he said, is the scam artist who convinces older people to invest in phony products or get-rich-quick schemes. Twenty percent of Montanans are considered senior citizens.
He said prior to his election as auditor, several state departments were doing good work at combating such scams, but he succeeded in getting the departments to work together.
Educational programs and efforts to prevent the con artists from doing their work is the most effective thing to do, he said.
“We can stop, arrest, and charge them and put them in jail,” he said. “But guess what? The senior is never made whole.”
He hopes to create options for health care alternatives so the state is ready “when the Affordable Care Act goes away.”
Primary health care facilities have opened up in several Montana cities, and he hopes more are forthcoming.
The care centers provide people with treatment for many common diseases such as colds and the flu. People then can purchase high-deductible, catastrophic-type insurance, thus saving their families hundreds of dollars, Rosendale said.
This provides quality care, and primary care doctors are pleased, he said.
With all the talk about having the president’s ear, what if he’s elected at the same time a Democratic candidate wins back the White House?
Rosendale touted his experience working with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock through three legislative sessions. He’s worked with Democrats on getting bills passed, he pointed out.
“I will find a way to get work done.”
Paul Dragu contributed to this story.
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Write to John Kelleher at firstname.lastname@example.org
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