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Democrat Jon Tester wins to retain Montana Senate seat

November 07, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro and Kim Geiger
  • Sen. Jon Tester, center, is greeted by supporters during an election-night party in Great Falls, Mont.
Sen. Jon Tester, center, is greeted by supporters during an election-night… (AP Photo / Michael Albans )

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jon Tester was among the most endangered Democrats in the Senate, but he pulled through after a tough challenge from Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg.

Tester had a surprise victory for Democrats six years ago, but returning to the Senate would prove difficult in the Republican state without the political wave that favored Democrats in 2006. Tester won with 48.6% of the vote to Rehberg's 44.8%. Libertarian Dan Cox took 6.5% of the vote.

"It has been an honor to serve the people of Montana," Rehberg said in a statement Wednesday morning. "The voters of our state have spoken, and I respect their decision."

An assist from Pearl Jam, whose bassist is a longtime Tester family friend, pumped star power into the Big Sky state with a concert.

Rehberg, a six-term at-large congressman who represents the entire state, ran a largely party-line campaign — except that he is one of the few House Republicans to shun the austerity budget proposed by Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the GOP’s vice presidential pick.

The race has been in a dead heat much of the cycle, though Rehberg has held slight leads.

lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

@LisaMascaroinDC

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