Politics

Latest Montana Poll Shows Democratic Sen Jon Tester Barely Ahead Of Republican Challenger

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

A poll shows Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester barely leading his Republican challenger, indicating the seat might be within reach for the GOP.

survey conducted by Montana State University and the Montana Television Network shows Tester beating state auditor Matt Rosendale, his Republican opponent, by 3 percentage points. The poll — released Monday — shows Tester pulling in 46 percent of registered voters to Rosendale’s 43 percent. Over 6 percent of respondents said they are still undecided.

The survey suggests a neck-and-neck race just two weeks ahead of Election Day.

“In just 19 days, the people of this incredible state are going to send Matt Rosendale to the Senate to protect your jobs and your second amendment,” President Donald Trump said at a rally in Missoula, Montana, on Friday.

The rally — meant to bolster support for Rosendale and other statewide Republican candidates — was Trump’s third stop in Montana this election cycle, according to the Missoulian. The president’s involvement in the close election battle could prove critical. He won Montana in the 2016 election by over 20 percent and still remains popular among residents. (RELATED: Ronny Jackson Will Not Be Returning To His Old Job As Trump’s Doctor)

For Trump, Tester’s bid for a third term appears to be more personal than Senate elections elsewhere in the country. The president holds the Montana Democrat responsible for ruining Adm. Ronny Jackson’s nomination to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Jackson, a former physician to the president, initially was in the running to head the VA, but withdrew in April after Tester presented unverified accusations that he was once drunk on duty and was loose with medication prescriptions.

Following Jackson’s withdrawal, Trump called for Tester to resign.

Inside Elections rates the race as “tilt Democratic” and Sabato’s Crystal Ball rates it as “leans D.” However, Inside Elections has called the race a “toss-up.”

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