Montana Free Press

Election 2024 Guide

Montana's candidates for state and federal office.

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Last update: Jun 18, 2024
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Tim Sheehy
Montana Republican candidate
for U.S. Senate

Tim Sheehy

Bozeman businessman

Active candidates for U.S. Senate

General election nominees were selected via the June 4, 2024, primary election.

Republican

Democrat

Libertarian

Tim Sheehy, 37 as of Election Day, is a Gallatin County businessman and former Navy SEAL who has emerged as national Republicans’ top pick to take on longtime incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester this year.

Sheehy, a Minnesota native who moved to Montana in 2014 and founded the aerial firefighting company Bridger Aerospace, said he didn’t consider entering politics until the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, a chaotic exit in which 13 American troops were killed in addition to hundreds of Afghan civilian casualties.

“It was heart-wrenching,” he told MTFP. “I fought in our nation’s longest war. I worked to save our allies. I understand duty, service and sacrifice. That day showed me something was seriously wrong in D.C. and motivated me to run for U.S. Senate.”

His policy priorities include reducing the federal deficit, tightening immigration laws and restricting American support for Ukraine. Although Sheehy has donated to past political rivals of former President Donald Trump, he received Trump’s endorsement in February and pledges to work with Trump if elected.

“America is at a crossroads, and it’s time for a new generation of leaders to save our country from the career politicians — Republicans and Democrats — who run for office after office, go to D.C. to get rich, and lecture us about ‘fighting for you’ while our problems only get worse,” Sheehy told MTFP.

This biography is based on material Sheehy provided to MTFP as well as prior MTFP coverage of his campaign.

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ON THE ISSUES

Answers here were solicited from candidates via a written questionnaire conducted by MTFP in April 2024. Responses were limited to 1,000 characters and edited lightly for punctuation and spelling. Candidates were asked to focus on the positives their service would bring the state instead of making rhetorical attacks on their opponents. Responses have not been exhaustively fact-checked.

What do you see as the biggest issue Montana is facing that the Senate is in a position to address? How would you address it if elected or re-elected?
Tim Sheehy:

We must bring accountability to D.C. Like many Montanans, I’m tired of hearing career politicians talk about how they’re going to “fight” for America while our problems only get worse.

From our nation’s out-of-control debt, the crisis at our southern border, the broken VA, and the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, the career politicians and bureaucrats in D.C. are not being held accountable. It's time to remind Washington what it means to have service, sacrifice, and accountability at the center of your mission.

That’s why one of my first actions as a candidate was to sign the Term Limits Pledge because we need more accountability and less career politicians. I’m committed to ensuring that politicians who fail to pass a balanced budget don’t get paid. And Montana veterans will have no bigger advocate than a fellow veteran to fight for them and fulfill the promise our nation made to them.

Montanans have an opportunity to secure our children’s future and save America. Let’s take it.

Compare to competing candidates
If President Joe Biden is re-elected, how would you want to work with his administration as a senator?
Tim Sheehy:

Our country is facing serious problems, and we need serious people to solve them. Record inflation, open borders, rising crime, collapsing foreign policy, unattainable housing prices and out-of-control debt. America is at a crossroads. Control of the U.S. Senate will decide if we can solve these problems to save the American Dream and deliver prosperity and growth while protecting our freedoms and liberties.

As senator, I will work to end illegal immigration once and for all, rebuild our economy with low inflation, unleash American energy, get tough on crime, fix the VA and put America First.

President Biden has failed our nation and is one of the worst presidents we’ve ever had. President Trump will win in November, and I look forward to working with him to deliver the commonsense policies Montanans want, and our country needs: safe streets, cheap gas, a secure border, America First foreign policy, a strong economy, a balanced budget, good schools, boys are boys and girls are girls.

Compare to competing candidates
Similarly, if former President Donald Trump is elected, how would you want to work with him?
Tim Sheehy:

I’m incredibly proud and honored to have the support of President Donald J. Trump as we fight to take back the Senate and save America. As conservative political outsiders and successful businessmen, we will always fight for Montanans and put America First!

This race will determine control of the Senate, and with President Trump in office, the Senate is critical to advancing the America First agenda.

We need political outsiders to deliver the commonsense solutions Montanans want, and our country needs, but career politicians back in D.C. haven’t delivered. Under President Trump’s leadership, our economy was booming, our border was secure, and America was respected on the world stage. Together, we will take on and defeat the D.C. establishment and career politicians selling out our country, rebuild our economy, secure the border, get tough on crime, re-establish peace through strength, restore Montana common sense in D.C., drain the swamp, and Make America Great Again!

Compare to competing candidates
Do you regard reining in the federal deficit as a priority? If so, in what budget areas would you support spending cuts or tax increases?
Tim Sheehy:

We are $34 trillion in debt. $34 trillion. The spending in Washington is out of control, and the career politicians are doing absolutely nothing to rein it in. Let’s be clear: We have a spending problem — not a revenue problem.

If we don’t fix our spending problem, we’ll be handing our children an insolvent nation, and the only thing our tax dollars will do is service our national debt. We must balance the budget and begin to lower our national debt.

The quickest way to balance the budget is to ensure that politicians who fail to pass a balanced budget don’t get paid. You’re not allowed to run your business that way, and they shouldn’t be allowed to run our nation that way. If politicians can’t pass a balanced budget, they shouldn’t get paid. No balanced budget, no paycheck!

We must also start cutting wasteful spending that doesn’t put America First — no more blank checks to Ukraine or sending billions to regimes, like Iran, that chant “Death to America!”

Compare to competing candidates
Would you support federal legislation that either restricts abortions or guarantees access on a national basis? With what conditions?
Tim Sheehy:

I am proudly pro-life and support commonsense protections for when a baby can feel pain, as well as exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, and I believe any further limits must be left to each state.

Like most Montanans, I believe that allowing an elective abortion up until the moment of birth is an extreme position.

I strongly believe in helping bring more life into this world, including through our philanthropy benefitting Montana health care, which helped bring the upgraded neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to the Gallatin Valley to provide critical care to at-risk infants and helping Billings Clinic establish Montana’s first level one trauma center.

I also stand in support of IVF as a path for families to grow and thrive when they struggle to conceive naturally, like my brother and sister-in-law who battled infertility and eventually were blessed with my nephew through IVF. I will fight against any effort to restrict IVF treatments for women and families.

Compare to competing candidates
What if anything should Congress do to ensure Montanans have access to affordable housing?
Tim Sheehy:

Record inflation has made the American Dream of homeownership tougher and tougher to achieve for Montanans. The reckless spending out of D.C. has given us record-high inflation, sky-high interest rates, higher building costs and rising prices on everything from homes to groceries. We need to rebuild our economy with low inflation. I will work to end the out-of-control spending and the disastrous economic policies that are crushing Montana families and small businesses.

We must also start taking advantage of our abundant natural resources and building more homes with Montana timber. In the middle of a housing crisis, why are we buying our timber and shipping it in from foreign countries when we could be getting it for cheaper while growing our economy right here in Montana? It makes no sense.

We should be able to responsibly manage our forests here at home to create more high-paying jobs, lower housing costs, support our communities, and protect the environment. That’s common sense.

Compare to competing candidates
To what extent do you see climate change as an urgent issue? What if any action should Congress take to address it?
Tim Sheehy:

The climate has always been changing, but the Leftist Climate Cult agenda is not about the environment, it’s about control.

We must stand strong against the radical climate cult agenda that senselessly kills Montana jobs, weakens our economy, crushes business, devastates our communities and strips Montanans of their freedoms by weaponizing ESG. As a public company’s CEO, I know personally how this woke crap is stripping us of our freedoms.

We need to embrace commonsense policies that benefit the economy and environment simultaneously. It’s time to make America energy independent and dominant again by unleashing all forms of American energy and innovation and increasing active forest management. We should be able to responsibly develop those resources here at home to create more high-paying jobs, lower energy costs and support our communities, all while protecting the environment. This isn’t an either/or choice like the left would have you believe. We can do both.

Compare to competing candidates
What if any action should Congress take to change how the nation controls movement across the U.S.-Mexico border?
Tim Sheehy:

President Biden inherited a secure border but created the worst border crisis in our history.

Congress could've held the Biden administration accountable for its disastrous policies in April by holding an impeachment trial for DHS Sec. Mayorkas and Jon Tester voted to dismiss it.

As senator, I’ll fight to defend America, stop the invasion and keep deadly drugs, like Chinese fentanyl, off our streets. But let's be clear: Joe Biden created this crisis and he has the authority—without help from Congress—to fix it.

We must stop incentivizing illegal immigration and restore President Trump’s successful policies of Remain in Mexico and ending Catch and Release. We can’t keep spending billions on handouts for illegals while we’re $34 trillion in debt, have homeless veterans on the street and hardworking Americans struggle to make ends meet.

We need new, strong leadership to crush the cartels, finish the wall, seal the border, end illegal immigration once and for all and put America First!

Compare to competing candidates
The cost of health care is a concern for many Montanans. What if any federal action would you support to improve the U.S. health care system?
Tim Sheehy:

Our health care system is broken. I hear it from Montanans in their communities across the state. Because of Obamacare, Montanans face higher premiums year after year. Americans have lost access to doctors and health care plans they were told they could keep.

More government control of our health care has only made things worse. We must increase access and lower costs.

Like most Montanans, I believe we need to promote greater transparency, competition and shopping for services in our health care system. As someone who was wounded in battle and has had to deal with the VA, I know firsthand we should be rewarding outcomes and innovation, improving access to care in our rural communities, and most importantly, protecting Montanans with pre-existing conditions.

That's why I proudly donated millions across Montana to increase access to critical health care services, bring the upgraded NICU to the Gallatin Valley and help Billings Clinic establish Montana’s first level one trauma center.

Compare to competing candidates
Under what if any circumstances do you believe the U.S. should be providing military support to parties involved in foreign conflicts?
Tim Sheehy:

We must put America First. If we're going to send military support overseas, we better damn well know why we're doing it, the American people better be behind it, and it better benefit our national interest.

We can't let the politicians back in Washington keep putting America Last and shoveling our resources, people and cash overseas as other countries take advantage of us. Everything we do as a country, domestically and internationally, should benefit the American people and serve our national interest, because when America acts in its own interest, the rest of the world benefits. When we're a strong America with a strong economy and a strong presence, everyone else benefits. We must get back to that.

Our government should always serve American interests and put Americans first. That's what America First means, and that's the type of commonsense leadership I'm going to fight for in the Senate.

Compare to competing candidates

MTFP COVERAGE OF Sheehy

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Based on reporting required by the U.S. Federal Election Commission. See individual candidate committee pages on the FEC website or the FEC race summary page for more information.
Candidate
Raised
Spent
Remaining
Jon Tester (D)
thru 2024-05-15
$37.3M
$26.0M
$11.8M
Tim Sheehy (R)
thru 2024-05-15
$10.8M
$8.3M
$2.4M
Brad Johnson (R)
thru 2024-05-15
$43k
$40k
$3k
Charles Walkingchild (R)
No FEC filings on record
$0
$0
$0
The FEC summary page may include candidates who did not file for the ballot in this race with the Montana secretary of state. Additionally, some active candidates may not appear on this list because they are not required to file paperwork with the FEC until they raise or spend $5,000 on their campaigns.

Election outcomes

June 4 primary – Republican candidates
CandidateVotesPercentage
TIM SHEEHY138,20273.6%
BRAD JOHNSON36,46019.4%
CHARLES WALKINGCHILD SR13,0336.9%
Count reported by Montana secretary of state as of Jun 10, 2024.

COMMON VOTING QUESTIONS

When are Montana’s 2024 elections?

Voters will pick which candidates advance to the November general election in the June primary, which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4. Voters will pick the candidates who will ultimately fill each office on the ballot in the November election, which is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Who runs Montana’s elections?

Montana elections are administered at the county level. The process is overseen by county clerks and election administrators, who help to train and monitor the volunteer election judges that staff the polls. Ballots are typically processed and counted at central county locations, with the results reported to the Montana secretary of state’s office via a statewide software system called ElectMT.

Once polls close, the secretary of state’s office provides results through its website. The state-level office also provides guidance to local election administrators to ensure compliance with state election laws. Additionally, enforcing compliance with some laws governing political campaigns, particularly those involving campaign finance, falls to a separate office known as the Commissioner of Political Practices.

Do I need to be registered in order to vote?

Yes. If you’re unsure about your registration status, you can check it through the Montana secretary of state's My Voter Page. You can register to vote by stopping by your county election office any time during regular business hours to pick up an application. After you’ve filled it out, you’ll need to get it back to your county election office by mail or in person (the latter option is strongly recommended close to Election Day to ensure your application is received in time). If you do present your application in person, you’ll have to provide a photo ID or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you happen to be applying for a Montana driver’s license or identification card before the election, you can register to vote at the same time.

Can I register to vote on Election Day?

Yes. The state Legislature has sought to enact an earlier registration deadline, but under a March 2024 ruling by the Montana Supreme Court, same-day voter registration remains legal in Montana. Residents can register to vote or update their voter registration at their county’s election office prior to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Does Montana have voter ID requirements?

Yes, you will be required to present identification when voting at the polls. However, under the Montana Supreme Court’s March ruling, changes made to those requirements by the 2021 Legislature remain blocked. The current forms of identification voters can use at the polls are a current Montana driver’s license, state-issued photo ID, tribal or military photo ID, a U.S. passport or a student ID. If you don’t have a photo ID, you can use a utility bill, a bank statement, a voter confirmation card or any other government document that shows your name and address.

Are there situations where I wouldn't be eligible to vote?

According to state law, you can't vote if you'll be under age 18 on Election Day, are not a U.S. citizen, or have lived in Montana less than 30 days. Convicted felons who are currently incarcerated in a penal facility and people whom judges have ruled to be of unsound mind are also ineligible to vote. Otherwise, you're good to go.

Can I vote online?

No, that’s not an option in Montana.

Can I vote by mail?

Yes, you can sign up as an absentee voter by checking a box on your voter registration form. If you’re already registered to vote, you can fill out a separate form and submit it to your county election office.

If you’re registered as an absentee voter, a ballot should be mailed to you a few weeks in advance of each election day. You can make sure your address is current via the My Voter page. County election officials are slated to mail ballots to voters for the June 2024 primary election May 10.

You can return ballots by mail, or drop them off in person at your county’s election office. Either way, the election office must receive your ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to count it.

How do I vote in person?

If you plan to vote at the polls, just be sure you know where your polling location is and head there between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day. You'll need to provide a photo ID and sign the precinct register, at which point you’ll get your ballot and be directed to a voting booth. If you have any technical questions or run into any problems, the election judges at your polling place should be able to help you.

I have a friend or family member who isn't able to drop off his or her mail-in ballot. Can I do it for them?

Yes, you can. The Montana Legislature did make some changes to ballot collection laws in 2021 related to paid ballot collection, those changes have also been blocked by the Montana Supreme Court.

Who should I vote for?

That’s your call, not ours. We hope the information we present on this guide is helpful as you make that decision for yourself, though.

About this project

This guide was produced by the Montana Free Press newsroom with production and web development by Eric Dietrich, editing by Brad Tyer and Nick Ehli and contributions from Arren Kimbel-Sannit, Mara Silvers, Alex Sakariassen, Amanda Eggert and Stephanie Farmer. Questionnaire responses for legislatiive candidates were collected with help from the Montana League of Women Voters, through the league's Vote 411 program. Contact Eric Dietrich with questions, corrections or suggestions at edietrich@montanafreepress.org.

Montana Free Press is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit, reader-supported news organization serving Montana. MTFP's donor base includes supporters from across Montana's political spectrum, including some Montanans who are candidates in this year's election. MTFP's major donors are listed here and a current list of other supporters is available here. MTFP's news judgments are made entirely independently from donor involvement.

This material is available for republication by other media outlets under Montana Free Press' standard distribution terms.