First term Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., defeated incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., by about 3,000 votes out of 400,000 cast. His re-election bid may turn out to be just as close.
Tester is running against the state’s lone member of the House, Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont. Rehberg made a previous run at the Senate, going down to defeat in 1996 and has served in the House since 2001.
The Rothenberg Political Report and The Cook Political Report both rate the races as a tossup and the Real Clear Politics polling average has Rehberg up by just one percentage point, in other words, a dead heat. Montana has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992, so Tester is unlikely to get any help from riding President Barack Obama’s coattails.
Tester is ahead in the money race, raising $9.3 million to Rehberg’s $5.6 million.
The race is one of a handful that may determine which party controls the Senate. Tester’s record offers a clear choice for voters.
While he has bucked the president on some issues, like the Keystone XL pipeline, he has supported both Obamacare and the stimulus, two items Rehberg opposed.
Rehberg has been joined on the stump by former presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain.
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