Republicans two seats short of U.S. Senate control are expected to spend tens of millions of dollars on ads attacking Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester as a Washington insider tainted by lobbyist cash
BIGFORK, Mont. — After 17 years in the U.S. Senate, Democrat Jon Tester is a well-known commodity in Montana — a plain-spoken grain farmer with a flattop and a carefully cultivated reputation as a moderate.
The 67-year-old lawmaker smiled and laughed his way through the crowd at a Veterans Day event in Bigfork, a small town on Flathead Lake where the population has surged in recent years. He chatted with veterans who supported him and some who didn’t, then stood behind a lectern in the Bigfork High School gymnasium to promote his biggest recent accomplishment: expanded federal health care for millions of veterans exposed to toxic smoke at military “burn pits."
Tester has survived three close elections and a changed national political landscape to emerge as the lone Democrat still holding high office in Montana. The 2024 election brings possibly his stiffest challenge yet: Republicans, just two seats short of Senate control, are expected to spend tens of millions on attack ads painting him as a Washington insider tainted by lobbyist cash.
Ousting Tester also would cement a Republican lock on a state that voted overwhelmingly for Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Tester entered the Senate after selling Montana voters on his authenticity, and the former high school band teacher's message hasn’t changed much. He still mingles comfortably with union members, ranchers and veterans, has a record of working on their behalf, and says his heart remains firmly in his sparsely populated state, a vast expanseRead more on abcnews.go.com