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Trump endorses Downing in 2nd Congressional District primary

Posted at 6:53 AM, Jun 04, 2024

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Troy Downing in Montana’s 2nd Congressional District Republican primary on Monday, giving Downing the most sought-after endorsement out of the field of eight Republicans vying for the nomination a day before the election.

“As Montana’s very popular State Auditor, Troy is a Combat Veteran and successful entrepreneur who knows how to create jobs, protect our Military, and represent Montana values in Congress,” Trump said in a post on Truth Social Monday afternoon. “Troy will fight to Lower Inflation, Secure our Border, Champion American Energy Independence, and Defend our always under siege Second Amendment. Troy Downing has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Trump’s endorsement a day before the primary election has the possibility to sway voters who have not yet returned their absentee ballots or who plan to vote on Tuesday and have been looking to Trump for guidance about which of the Republicans in the crowded field they should support, reports the Daily Montanan.

Former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Troy Downing in the 2nd Congressional District race.

Trump had previously been supportive of Rep. Matt Rosendale, the Freedom Caucus member and Republican who currently holds the seat but who is retiring from Congress after a brief and unsuccessful Senate run.

Rosendale won the district in 2022 by more than 70,000 votes over the runner up, and it’s likely that the Republican winner of Tuesday’s primary will be poised to win the seat in November in the Republican-heavy district.

Downing, currently the state auditor for Montana, is one of several high-profile candidates in the race, having been elected to statewide office in 2020. Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, another statewide officeholder, is also running, as is former Congressman Denny Rehberg. All three have lent their campaigns significant money as they attempt to win the primary.

The rest of the field includes current and former state lawmakers, an attorney, and a former DEA agent. Attorney Joel Krautter is the lone Republican candidate who has distanced himself from Trump.

Most have tried to garner his support and show voters that they are the most supportive of Trump and his policies compared to their competition, and many rushed to Trump’s defense when he was convicted in New York last week of 34 felony counts related to a hush money payment scheme involving a porn actress.

Downing has been running an ad since April using Trump’s image and praising the economy under his presidency. He has also visited the border and said he wants to “work with Donald J. Trump to finish the border wall.”

“President Trump and I will stop Bidenomics dead in its tracks,” he said in the ad, going on to talk about his performance as state auditor.

Downing loaned his campaign more than $1 million so far and had $435,000 in cash as of May 15. Arntzen loaned her campaign $750,000 as of mid-May but had only about $66,000 in cash at the end of the reporting period.

But she too has fought hard for Trump’s endorsement, consistently touting that she was the first candidate in the race to endorse the former president, and running an ad against Downing highlighting his prior comments calling Trump “unelectable.”

As of Monday afternoon, about 188,000 of the 450,000 Montanans (42%) who received absentee ballots for the primary had returned them. That is about 32% of active registered voters and 25% of all registered voters.

In a statement, Downing called the endorsement “an honor” to receive from Trump.

“Fighting together, we’re going to take our country back from the woke left, and we’re going to Make America Great Again!” he said.