In Montana’s Senate race, incumbent Jon Tester and Republican challenger Denny Rehberg are running even at 48 percent each, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday.
The two candidates, both well known in the Big Sky State, have been running neck and neck for months now.
“Honestly, Tester and Rehberg have to feel like they are running a marathon on a treadmill without an iPod: 26 miles of nothing but the same,” Jennifer Duffy, senior editor for the independent Cook Political Report, told The Washington Post.
Democrat Tester, 56, was first elected to the Senate in November 2006. Rehberg, 57, has represented Montana’s at-large district in Congress since 2001.
Tester has deeper pockets. He has raised $9.3 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, compared to $5.6 million for Rehberg.
In a debate Sunday night, Rehberg portrayed Tester as following President Barack Obama’s lead in everything. The Republican said Tester had voted with Obama 95 percent of the time, a claim Tester called “crazy,” according to the Billings Gazette.
Tester turned to his wife, Sharla, who was seated in the audience, and said: “I’ve been married to you for 35 years and I don’t agree with you 95 percent of the time.”
Montana has been a solid red state in 2008, so supporting Obama doesn’t play too well there, but in Sunday night’s debate, Tester defended Obama’s $787 billion stimulus program as crucial to stopping the country from descending into a depression. Rehberg called the stimulus a failure and reiterated his opposition to Obama’s health-care law.
Tester has been at pains to highlight his Montana background. He and his wife farm the same land where his grandparents founded a homestead nearly a century ago. They grow organic wheat, barley and other crops.
Rehberg married his former high school sweetheart, Jan, an attorney who represents ranchers and farmers.
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