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Tester wins reelection to US Senate

Posted at 10:45 AM, Nov 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-07 13:36:54-05

The Associated Press is calling Jon Tester the winner of the Montana US Senate race.

Sen. Tester began his speech — which MTN News carried live on-air and online — by saying “we did it.”

Matt Rosendale issued the following statement following Sen. Jon Tester’s announcement.

“Sen. Tester and I have spoken, and I congratulated him on winning this race and wished him well.”

  “What an incredible journey this has been over the last year and a half. Its been the honor of a lifetime to be your nominee and we couldn’t have gone this far without my wife Jean and our three sons by my side. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support, trust, time and energy received from folks across this state. Thank you to each and every one of you – to our staff, volunteers, and all our grassroots supporters.”

“While we suffered a setback, our movement and our cause will continue to move forward. I will never stop working to make our country and state better.”

“As your State Auditor, I will continue to fight for you in Helena to lower health care costs and expand options, and hold the line on government spending. My work for the people of Montana is not done and I will continue to serve and always put the people of Montana first.”

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester will win a third term in the Senate, CNN projects, outlasting millions of outside spending and an intense focus on the race from President Donald Trump.

Tester was widely seen early in the cycle as a vulnerable Democrat due to the fact Trump won the state by 20 points just two years ago. But Tester’s unique brand as a farmer from Big Sandy and personal connection to the state provided a contrast to Republican Matt Rosendale, whose ties to the state were constantly in question.

Tester, like other Democrats running in red states, routinely pledged throughout the campaign to work with Trump when needed, even running TV ads touting his work with Trump.

“Washington is a mess but that is not stopping me from getting bills signed into law by President Trump,” Tester said in his first campaign ad.

That relationship with Trump frayed, though, after Tester led the charge against Ronny L. Jackson, the former White House physician who Trump picked to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate committee that oversaw Jackson’s confirmation, accused Jackson of handing out prescriptions “like candy” on foreign trips, accusations that eventually sunk his nomination.

The process irked Trump, and the President traveled to the state four times this campaign season to rally against Tester and tout Rosendale. During the events, Trump particularly hammered the Democrats’ handling of the Jackson confirmation.

“I can never forget what Jon Tester did to a man that’s of the highest quality,” Trump said in October. “What (Tester) did was unfair, what he did was vicious, what he did was … almost, almost, if this is believable, worse.”

Tester attacked Rosendale as an out-of-state developer by highlighting his ties to Maryland. Those attacks were helped by Rosendale’s competitive and negative primary, which provided the Tester campaign with plenty to use against the Republican. Tester closed the campaign by attacking Rosendale as “all hat, not cattle.”

-Dan Merica reporting for CNN

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Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester has announced that he has won reelection over Republican challenger Matt Rosendale.

Sen. Tester retook the lead Wednesday morning in his seesaw contest against Rosendale, while thousands of votes still remained uncounted in several major cities — including Democratic-leaning Missoula and Bozeman.

At about 9:40 a.m., the first vote results posted since early in the morning gave Tester a 1,000-vote lead, with 48.7% of the total to 48.4% for Rosendale. Libertarian Rick Breckenridge was holding steady at just under 3%.