Tester woos Trump voters in tough re-election campaign

AP

Print Article

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester is trying to woo the voters who gave President Donald Trump a lopsided election victory in Montana by touting his ability to pass bills the president will sign despite acrimonious partisanship in Washington.

The Montana Democrat’s campaign released its first television ad Monday that said Trump has signed 13 bills either sponsored or co-sponsored by Tester. More than half of the bills deal with veterans’ affairs, while others range on topics from government oversight to naming a mountain in the Madison Range.

Tester is defending his seat this fall in a state that Trump won in 2016 by 20 percentage points. He’ll need to appeal to Trump voters to win a third term in a race viewed as one of the more vulnerable Senate seats held by a Democrat.

“He’s gotten more bills signed into law by President Trump than he has fingers,” campaign manager Christie Roberts said. Tester is missing three fingers on his left hand a childhood accident with a meat grinder.

Republicans seeking to unseat Tester quickly rebutted that he is no friend of the president. The National Republican Senate Campaign referenced an analysis by FiveThirtyEight.com that said Tester has voted against Trump’s position on bills 64 percent of the time.

“I think people are going to be able to see through that,” said Jake Eaton, a senior adviser for the Montana Republican Legislative Campaign Committee. “He’s been a pretty vocal critic of Trump.”

David Parker, a political science professor at Montana State University, said passing legislation in a hyper-partisan environment is a big deal. The issues that the legislation deal with have broad-based appeal and shouldn’t alienate the Democratic base against Tester for trying to align himself with the president, Parker said.

“A number of progressives have always grumbled about Tester,” Parker said. “He’s a centrist Democrat. That’s who he is and how he wins races.”

Four Republicans are competing for their party’s nomination to challenge Tester in November: Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matt Rosendale; former District Judge Russ Fagg; businessman Troy Downing; and state Sen. Al Olszewski, a Kalispell physician.

A Libertarian candidate and a Green Party candidate also entered the race on Monday, the last day to file as a candidate with the Montana Secretary of State.

The Senate election tops a slate of Montana elections this fall that also include U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte defending his seat after last year’s special election victory and Republicans trying to hold their legislative majority.

Democratic leaders said they hope to harness a surge of activism since Trump’s election to take control of the House and Senate.

“That activism and that need to feel involved and the desire to do something, to change things, will be reflected in Democratic votes,” said Democratic state Rep. Moffie Funk, of Helena.

Eaton said he was skeptical that Democrats could spin activism into votes.

“I’ve been doing Montana legislative races for about a decade now, and every year the Democrats say they have this enthusiasm and will take back the Legislature. It never happens,” Eaton said.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Mobile crime lab helps with toughest cases

September 23, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake After years of working out of 1980s-era ambulance, the Kalispell Police Department has a new tool at its disposal when investigating major crimes. The department recently bought a 28-foot trailer ...

Comments

Read More

Volunteer firefighters are vital for rural areas, but their numbers are on the decline

September 23, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Rural communities like those scattered across the Flathead have relied for decades on volunteer firefighters and paramedics, who train for hundreds of hours and risk their lives for others. In recen...

Comments

Read More

Initiative would reject mines destined to be perpetual polluters

September 23, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Backers of ballot Initiative 186 contend that any new hardrock mine unable to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that its reclamation would not require perpetual treatment of polluted water shou...

Comments

Read More

Opioid crisis center of discussion with Tester

September 22, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Local representatives from the health care, addiction treatment, and law enforcement fields met with U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., in Kalispell on Thursday to express concern over a shortage of reso...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

News: (406) 837-5131
Advertising: 406-758-4410
Bigfork Eagle
c/o Daily Inter Lake
PO Box 7610
Kalispell, MT 59904

©2018 Bigfork Eagle Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X