MT-Sen: Democrat incumbent Jon Tester fends off Republican challenger Matt Rosendale

MT-Sen: Democrat incumbent Jon Tester fends off Republican challenger Matt Rosendale
Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (right) successfully fended off a challenge from Republican Matt Rosendale (left) for the U.S. Senate seat from Montana. (Image Source: YouTube screenshot composite)

Republican challenger Matt Rosendale failed to unseat the incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (D) in Montana’s election for a U.S. Senate seat.

The contest was called after Tester received 49.1 percent of the vote compared to Rosendale’s 48 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

Despite losing the seat, Republicans continue to hold the majority of the U.S. Senate, despite the fact that historically the out-of-power party loses seats in both houses of Congress.

Help from Trump

Rosendale received help from President Donald Trump, who visited Montana to rally his support against Tester. Many believe Trump was getting back at Tester for his role in sinking the nomination of Ronny Jackson to run Veterans Affairs.

“Jon Tester voted no on legislation to stop late-term abortions,” Trump said at a Great Falls rally in July. “You wouldn’t think it would play very well out here. How did he get elected? I mean I know a lot of people from Montana, you have to explain that one to me — how did he get elected?”

Tester, on the other hand, got some help from liberal celebrities, including actor Jeff Bridges, and Pearl Jam. The latter became a campaign liability however, when they published a promotional poster of the White House burning and President Donald Trump dying on the front lawn.

Polling

While Tester was ahead of his Republican challenger through most of the polling leading up to the election, in some outliers, Rosendale showed some strength against the Democrat.

In one poll reported in August, Rosendale received 47 percent of voter support over 45 percent for Tester. The RealClearPolitics average had Tester ahead by 4.5 percentage points just ahead of the election.

Campaign finance

Tester received $19,227,650 in campaign donations and spent $17,674,961 while the Rosendale campaign received only $4,722,943 in campaign donations and spent $4,204,778.

Tester also had a drastic advantage in PAC support, with $3.6 million compared to $325K for Rosendale.

This is a developing story and will be updated.