Tom’s Opinion: Why Tester Won
Thankfully the midterms are rapidly disappearing in the rear view mirror. My phone was gratefully silent today and my daily mail was much lighter.
One of the most hotly contested and possibly the most expensive senate race in Montana history came down to the wire with Senior U.S. Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., victorious.
Before we totally leave politics and start the holiday season, I thought I’d review some thoughts I have about why Tester beat Rerpublican Matt Rosendale for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat.
To begin with, I felt that Rosendale was not the best candidate the Republican Party could have run. But that’s beside the point — he got the nod.
Here are some reasons Tester prevailed.
About the only people who didn’t show up to endorse and campaign for Rosendale was Baron Trump, the president’s son who couldn’t stay up that late on school nights.
Tester showed he didn’t need any help to win. Even though the race did come in closer than I expected I do think some of the visits from high profile Republicans helped Rosendale.
But Tester did show strength going it alone and I think that resonated with voters.
The Hot Buttons
Tester found the hot buttons with voters that Rosendale did not.
First, he surrounded himself with veterans whenever possible. Montana has more veterans per capita than any other state.
And the VA is a hot topic with many voters.
Tester also showed up on the labor walk out at the talc plant — Rosendale AWOL.
The second point in his campaign was healthcare. Very important to Montanans but virtually ignored by Rosendale.
Tester even used his own disability in one ad as an example of his parents not having healthcare when he had his accident.
Business owners only have about two or three choices for healthcare programs for employees in Montana. Our dangerous occupations don’t help either.
Republicans have also been accused of doing away with pre-existing conditions. Whether that’s true or not — with escalating healthcare premiums voters took note.
MSU and U of Montana
Current enrollment at Montana State is 16,902 students. Of those 8,675 live in Montana and are probably registered to vote in our state. I would expect similar comparisons at colleges across the state.
And since MSU didn’t like the idea of a building donated by the Koch Brothers I doubt there is a conservative bias on our campuses.
This could be one reason that Gallatin County overwhelmingly went for Tester and Williams.
Some Final Thoughts
It’s really hard to unseat an incumbent politician. They’re returned to office on an average of eighty-six percent of the time.
We keep sending them back expecting different results.
Democrats capitalized on Tester being a born and bred Montanan, but the Republicans didn’t point out the Kathleen Williams moved to Montana in 1995 — from California no less. I’ve been here longer than her.
PAC ads, not Tester ads, painted Rosendale as an “all hat and no cattle” Maryland outsider and it obviously worked.
Republicans failed once more to read the voters of Montana. Whoever is in charge of hot topics for Republicans to run on should be shown the door.
Just my opinion.