Politics

Sen. Steve Daines Overcomes Challenge From Gov. Steve Bullock, Holds On To Montana Senate Seat

(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines won his bid for reelection against Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.

The Associated Press officially announced Daines’ win Wednesday morning. The junior senator from Montana will be serving his second term after Tuesday night’s win, having been first elected to the Senate in 2014. He previously served one term as a U.S. Representative from Montana’s at-large district between 2013 and 2015.

The coronavirus pandemic and the economy has loomed over the race. Daines emerged as a key ally for President Donald Trump in the Senate, but the president did not campaign on his behalf during the election cycle, the Associated Press reported. (RELATED: Sen. Steve Daines To Release Ad On September 11 Featuring Navy SEAL Who Shot Bin Laden)

Polling data over the last several months indicated a tight race between the two candidates, according to Real Clear Politics. The most recent poll on the race was produced by Montana State University – Billings in late October and gave Bullock a one-point advantage.

Democrats had outspent the Republicans by a sizable margin as well, making the race one of the most expensive in the country according to NBC Montana. Data from Open Secrets showed Daines spent more than $26 million while Bullock spent close to $39 million on the campaign. Nearly $174 million was spent on the race counting outside money.

DES MOINES, IOWA - NOVEMBER 01: Democratic presidential candidate Montana governor Steve Bullock speaks at the Liberty and Justice Celebration at the Wells Fargo Arena on November 01, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. Fourteen of the candidates hoping to win the Democratic nomination for president are expected to speak at the Celebration. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaks at the Liberty and Justice Celebration at the Wells Fargo Arena on November 01, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Bullock is the incumbent Governor of Montana and has served two terms since taking office in 2013. He entered the Senate race in March after dropping a long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination that lasted between May and December 2019. His Senate campaign largely focused on health care and public land protections, ABC News reported.

The coronavirus upended the state within a week of Bullock’s entry into the race. His gubernatorial administration oversaw orders closing schools and restaurants along with a general stay-at-home order, the Associated Press reported. Montana has reported more than 35,000 coronavirus cases and roughly 400 deaths, according to the state’s health department.