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What They’re Saying After Tester Makes First Montana Senate Debate About Montana Roots vs. Rich Outsiders

Campaign News June 10, 2024

NYT: “Tester demonstrated why he has been such a difficult target for Republicans”


BILLINGS – Yesterday, during the first Montana Senate debate, third-generation dirt farmer and U.S. Senator Jon Tester showed Montanans why he will relentlessly defend the state we know and love, while multimillionaire out-of-stater Tim Sheehy is part of the problem – not part of the solution. 


Sheehy’s financial conflicts of interest and shallow roots to Montana were front and center throughout the debate. 


When asked about protecting Montana women’s right to make their own health care decisions, Sheehy spread misinformation and made it clear that he would attack women’s right to choose – while Jon got fired up talking about how he’ll always defend reproductive freedom. 


Read the coverage:


Associated Press: Republican challenger to Tester leans into his outsider status in Montana US Senate debate

By Matthew Brown

June 9, 2024

  • BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tim Sheehy embraced his status as an outsider who came to Montana to start a business as he sought on Sunday to fend off concerns over wealthy newcomers driving up property taxes during the first debate in a contest that could tip the balance of power in the Senate.
  • Tester declared Sheehy “part of the problem” amid a housing shortage and rising taxes for many Montana residents after home values increased in many areas.
  • “We’ve had a lot of folks move into this state, a lot of folks with thick wallets, a lot of folks that drive up the cost of housing,” Tester said. “Tim Sheehy is not part of the solution; he’s part of the problem.”


New York Times: Tester and Sheehy attack — and agree — in first debate of Montana’s Senate race

By Kellen Browning

June 9, 2024

  • Running for his fourth term in a deep-red state, Mr. Tester demonstrated why he has been such a difficult target for Republicans.
  • [Tester] was quick to distance himself from President Biden, who is unpopular among Montanans, and repeatedly emphasized his bipartisan reputation. He said he had broken with Mr. Biden’s administration on immigration and energy, positioning himself as a proponent of fossil fuel use and calling some of Mr. Biden’s energy regulations “unacceptable.”


Helena Independent Record: Tester, Sheehy square off in first debate

By Holly Michels

June 9, 2024

  • One of the places Sheehy and Tester differed the most was in their answer to a question about abortion.
  • Sheehy continued: “At some point, when the baby is viable, when it can feel pain, when it can come out of the womb and be a healthy child to grow and become our next generation, that baby has rights too, and we have to have common-sense protections for the baby’s life as well.”
  • Abortions after 21 weeks gestational age are only 1% of those done in the U.S., and “claims of abortions occurring ‘moments before birth’ or even ‘after birth’ are false. These scenarios do not occur, nor are they legal in the United States,” according to KFF. Abortions done later in pregnancies are often because of medical issues such as fetal anomalies or the mother being at risk of death.
  • The panelists in the debate stayed away from negative press that’s swirled around the race, including the question about where Sheehy suffered a gunshot wound in his arm.