MONTANA
     Nov. 6, 2018 Senate

Gov.
Sen.1
Sen.2
2020
x
x
2019



2018



2017



2016
x


2015



2014



2013



2012



2011



2010



2009



2008



2007



2006



2005



2004



2003



2002



2001



2000



1999



1998



1997



1996



1995



1994



1993



1992



1991



1990



1989




+Jon Tester (D) i
253,876
50.33%
Matt Rosendale (R)
235,963
46.78%
Rick Breckenridge (L)
14,545
2.88%

504,384

Registered voters 711,844. Total turnout 509,233
Plurality: 17,913 votes (3.55 percentage points)
MT Secretary of State




Notes: Repulblicans had hoped to pick up a seat in Montana, where Trump won in 2016 by 20.41 percentage points.  The race pitted Sen. Jon Tester (D), seeking a third term, against Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R); also running was land surveyor Rick Breckenridge (L). 

The June 5 Republican primary was competitive.  Rosendale obtained 33.8% of the vote, defeating former Judge Russ Fagg (28.34%), businessman and veteran Troy Downing (19.13%) and state Sen. Albert Olszewski (18.70%).  Tester did not face a primary challenge.

Prior to being elected to the Senate in 2006, Tester served on the Big Sandy school board (1983-1992) and in the state Senate (1999-2006), including as minority whip, minority leader, and president; he has an 1,800 acre farm near Big Sandy.  Prior to being elected Auditor in 2016, Rosendale, who lives north of Glendive, served one term in the state House (elected in 2010), served in the state Senate (elected in 2012) and waged an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for Congress in 2014 (won by Ryan Zinke). 


The Tester campaign and its allies characterized Rosendale as an "East Coast developer" and "Maryland Matt" and challenged his claims to be a rancher, while Rosendale argued "Montana needs a conservative who's willing to back the Trump agenda."  President Trump took a very active interest in the race, after Tester undercut Trump's choice of Physician to the President Ronny Jackson for Secretary of Veterans Affairs in April.  Trump held four rallies in Montana: on Jul. 5 (Great Falls), Sep. 6 (Billings), Oct. 18 (Missoula), and Nov. 3 (Belgrade) (+).

The two major party candidates debated on Sept. 29 in the Missoula studio of Montana PBS (+).  A second debate, organized by Montana Television Network/Yellowstone Public Radio, originally scheduled for Oct. 6, was rescheduled to Oct. 13 due to the Kavanaugh vote.  All three candidates participated (+).

On Oct. 31 some news organizations reported that Breckenridge had endorsed Rosendale, but Breckenridge subsequently made clear that was just referring to the issue of dark money and that he was still in the race.

This was the most expensive campaign in Montana history.   According to Open Secrets the race was the ninth most expensive Senate race in 2018; total spending for the general election candidates reached $68.4 million including $25.7 million by the candidate committees ($20.3 million by Tester and $5.4 million by Rosendale) and $42.7 from outside groups (+).

TV viewers saw a lot of ads.  The Wesleyan Media Project reported that from Jan. 1, 2017 to Oct. 25, 2018 there were 113,898 ad airings in the Montana Senate race, the third most of any state, at an estimated cost of  $27.7 million; Democrats and Democratic groups had an advatage of 32,105 ads aired in that time (+).

Campaign Managers:
Jon Tester:  Christie Roberts
(Jan. 2017)  Political director (from May 2016), research director, (started in March 2014) and deputy research director (Jan. 2013-March 2014) at the DSCC.  Research director on Sen. Tester's re-election campaign, Jan. 2011-Nov. 2012.  Research associate at the DSCC, 2010.  B.A. in English and government from Georgetown University, 2006.


Matt Rosendale:  Kendall Cotton
Policy administrator in Office of Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montana State Auditor from Dec. 2016.  Campaign specialist at Campaign Headquarters, Feb.-Dec. 2016.  Field director in Missoula for Americans for Prosperity, June 2014-Sept. 2015.  Western Montana field director on Rosendale's 2014 campaign for Congress, Dec. 2013-June 2014.  Interned on Steve Daines for Montana, Nov. 2011-Nov. 2012.  Bachelor's degree in political science from Montana State University-Bozeman, 2015. 

 






ADVERTISEMENT