A little before midnight, when the race was called for Matt Rosendale, Flathead Valley surgeon Olszewski had won 17 percent of the Republican vote. While he’s disappointed with the result, he says he wouldn’t change anything about his first statewide campaign.
He likened it to a Class C basketball divisional tournament.
"We had four good teams in the race. I’m not the champion. And as a result, I’m going to support the champion as we go into the state tournament," Olszewski said.
Olszewski says negative messaging, like barbs shared between Russ Fagg and Matt Rosendale over TV ads, may have a place, but not in his campaign.
“I relish that I’ve been labeled as the happy, commonsense, grassroots, anti-establishment candidate," he said. "I can be strong when I need to be strong, and have been, but being strong doesn't mean going negative.”
He called on Republicans and conservative Independents to get behind Rosendale for the November general election, and said he hopes Rosendale carries Montana values to Washington, D.C.
"Montana’s been the conscience of our country," he said. "We have a Western lifestyle. We truly believe in freedom and we want to support our country but enjoy our life, and make sure government plays a minimal role in our life."
Olszewski says he looks forward to returning to the state legislature next year to tackle Medicaid expansion and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact, both of which he opposes.
About 70 people showed up for Olszewski’s watch party in Somers.