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United States Senate elections in Montana, 2012

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2012 U.S. Senate Elections in Montana

CandidatesPollsElection History

November 6 Election Winner:
Jon Tester Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Jon Tester Democratic Party
Jon Tester.jpg

Cook Political Report Race Rating
     Tossup (Prior to election)

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2012 U.S. House Elections

Flag of Montana.png
Voters in Montana elected one member to the U.S. Senate in the November 6, 2012 elections.

Incumbent Jon Tester (D) won re-election to the U.S. Senate on November 6, 2012.[1]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 12, 2012
June 5, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Montana has an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by February 11, 2012. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 6, 2012. Late registration is also available through the close of Election Day.[2]

See also: Montana elections, 2012

Incumbent: The election filled the Class 1 Senate seat, which was held by Jon Tester (D). First elected in 2006, Tester ran for and won re-election in 2012.

Candidates

Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party Jon TesterGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Denny Rehberg
Libertarian Party Dan Cox


According to the website Daily Kos, this race was one of nine top-ballot 2012 races that contained Libertarian candidates who received more total votes than was the difference between the Democratic winner and the GOP runner-up. In this case, Dan Cox took in over 12,500 more votes than the number that separated Tester and Rehberg.[3]

May 8, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic primary

Republican Party Republican primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian primary

Note: Jerry McConnell initially appeared on the official candidate list, but later withdrew.

Race background

Democratic incumbent Jon Tester, first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, was seeking re-election in the 2012 election. In the June 5, 2012 primary, Tester ran unopposed on the Democratic ticket.[8] Representative Denny Rehberg defeated challenger Dennis Teske to win his party's nomination for Tester's seat.[8]

Also running in 2012 were Libertarian candidates Dan Cox and Jerry McConnell. The unusual presence of two Libertarian primary contenders in the race has led the state’s election chief to put both Libertarian candidates on the general election ballot instead of conducting a costly and separate Libertarian primary.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said that a separate Libertarian primary would have cost counties a combined total of $350,000 to $390,000.

Libertarian primaries typically draw anywhere from 3 percent to 5 percent of the general election vote, but counties would nevertheless have been required to print the same number of Libertarian ballots as they do Republican and Democratic ones.

State election officials cited Montana law (MCA 13-10-209), which stated that the election administrator did not need to prepare a primary ballot for a party that did not have candidates for more than half the offices on the ballot.[9]

Competitiveness

Republican leaders targeted Senator Tester, who they saw as the key to their takeover of the Senate. Polls showed a tight race between Tester and Rehberg heading into the November general election. The New York Times' analysis of the 2012 Montana Senate race rated it as a toss-up; the seat was held by a Democrat, but could have switched to Republican.[10]

Election results

General Election

U.S. Senate, Montana General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJon Tester Incumbent 48.6% 236,123
     Republican Denny Rehberg 44.9% 218,051
     Libertarian Dan Cox 6.6% 31,892
Total Votes 486,066

Republican Primary

U.S. Senate-Montana Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngDenny Rehberg 76.2% 105,632
Dennis Teske 23.8% 33,079
Total Votes 138,711

Race rating

Cook Political Report

Each month the Cook Political Report released race ratings for President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House (competitive only) and Governors. There were seven possible designations:[11]

     Solid Democratic
     Likely Democratic
     Lean Democratic

     Tossup

     Lean Republican
     Likely Republican
     Solid Republican

Cook Political Report Race Rating -- Montana Senate
Month Rating
November 1, 2012[12]     
October 4, 2012[13]     
September 13, 2012[14]     
August 21, 2012[15]     
August 11, 2012[16]     
July 12, 2012[17]     
May 31, 2012[18]     
May 10, 2012[19]     
March 22, 2012[20]     
March 1, 2012[21]     
January 26, 2012[22]     
December 22, 2011[23]     
December 1, 2011[24]     

Sabato's Crystal Ball

The University of Virginia's Center for Politics published an article called Sabato's Crystal Ball on March 22, 2012, detailing the eight races in the Senate in 2012 that would decide the political fate of which party would end up with control in 2013.[25] The seat rated a toss-up that the Sabato's Crystal Ball believed was most likely to change hands was the Senate seat in Montana.[25] The article noted that incumbent Jon Tester was a slight underdog against challenger Denny Rehberg.[25]

Polls

2012

Jon Tester vs. Denny Rehberg
Poll Jon Tester Denny RehbergUndecidedOtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
(April 26-29, 2012)
48%43%9%0%+/-3.2932
Rasmussen Reports
(August 20, 2012)
43%47%5%5%+/-4.5500
Rasmussen Reports
(October 14, 2012)
48%48%2%3%+/-4.5500
Public Policy Polling
(October 17, 2012)
46%44%7%3%+/-3.5806
Pharos Research Group
(October 26-28, 2012)
48.2%46.6%0%5.2%+/-3.5799
Rassmussen Reports
(October 29, 2012)
49%48%2%2%+/-4.5500
AVERAGES 47.03% 46.1% 4.17% 3.03% +/-3.95 672.83
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

On May 1, 2012, Public Policy Polling (PPP) released the results of a survey in which incumbent Montana Senator Jon Tester pulled ahead of his Republican rival, Denny Rehberg, leading him 48 to 43 percent. In most prior polls, Rehberg had been leading incumbent Tester by a few percentage points.[26]

Campaign donors

Jon Tester

Jon Tester (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[27]March 31, 2012$3,825,917.54$1,214,716.69$(755,268.12)$4,285,366.11
Pre-primary[28]May 23, 2012$4,285,366.11$781,465.59$(994,528.22)$4,072,303.48
July Quarterly[29]June 30, 2012$4,072,303.48$1,160,124.55$(1,603,215.64)$3,629,212.39
October Quarterly[30]October 15, 2012$3,629,212.39$2,316,207.05$(4,610,560.56)$1,334,858.88
Running totals
$5,472,513.88$(7,963,572.54)

Denny Rehberg

Rehberg raised $2.4 million in the third quarter, leaving him with $1.7 million cash-on-hand.[31]

Denny Rehberg (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[32]March 31, 2012$2,075,148.29$1,199,868.01$(540,860.46)$2,734,155.84
Pre-primary[33]May 23, 2012$2,734,155.84$402,316.86$(527,041.99)$2,609,430.71
July Quarterly[34]June 30, 2012$2,609,430.71$759,760.07$(658,460.03)$2,710,730.75
October Quarterly[35]October 15, 2012$2,710,730.75$2,439,515.71$(3,245,746.23)$1,904,500.23
Running totals
$4,801,460.65$(4,972,108.71)

Election history

2008

On November 4, 2008, Max Baucus won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Bob Kelleher (R).[36]

United States Senate, Montana General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMax Baucus Incumbent 72.9% 348,289
     Republican Bob Kelleher 27.1% 129,369
Total Votes 477,658

2006

On November 9, 2006, Jon Tester was elected to the United States Senate. He defeated the incumbent Conrad Burns (R) and Stan Jones (Libertarian).[37]

United States Senate, Montana General Election, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJon Tester 49.2% 199,845
     Republican Conrad Burns 48.3% 196,283
     Libertarian Stan Jones 2.6% 10,377
Total Votes 406,505

See also

External links


References

  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Montana"
  2. Montana Secretary of State, "Voter Information," accessed July 25, 2012
  3. Daily Kos, "Libertarians provided the margin for Democrats and at least nine elections," November 15, 2012
  4. Billings Gazette, "Speculation on 2012 elections in high gear," accessed January 6, 2012
  5. New York Times, "Mining Companies Back Friend’s Bid for Senate," accessed January 6, 2012
  6. Billings Gazette, "Political unknown drops into U.S. Senate race" accessed February 4, 2011
  7. Ravalli Republic, "11 running for Montana governor; Hamilton man joins U.S. Senate race" March 13, 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 Montana Secretary of State, "Election Results" accessed June 5, 2012
  9. Q2 KTVQ "MT Secretary of State will not hold Libertarian primary" March 22, 2012
  10. The New York Times, "2012 Ratings Senate," accessed September 17, 2012
  11. Cook Political Report, "Our Accuracy," accessed December 12, 2011
  12. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," November 1, 2012
  13. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," October 4, 2012
  14. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," September 13, 2012
  15. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," August 21, 2012
  16. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," August 11, 2012
  17. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," July 12, 2012
  18. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," May 31, 2012
  19. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," May 10, 2012
  20. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," March 22, 2012
  21. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," March 1, 2012
  22. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," January 26, 2012
  23. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," December 27, 2011
  24. Cook Political Report, "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," December 1, 2011
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Center for Politics, "Tilting the Toss Ups – the Eight Races That Will Decide the Senate" accessed April 9, 2012
  26. Daily Kos, "Jon Tester pulls into lead in Montana Senate race" May 7, 2012
  27. Federal Election Commission, "Jon Tester April Quarterly," accessed August 1, 2012
  28. Federal Election Commission, "Jon Tester Pre-primary," accessed October 23, 2012
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Jon Tester July Quarterly," accessed August 1, 2012
  30. Federal Election Commission, "Jon Tester October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2012
  31. Danny Rehberg's campaign website, News & Events
  32. Federal Election Commission, "Denny Rehberg April Quarterly," accessed August 1, 2012
  33. Federal Election Commission, "Denny Rehberg Pre-primary," accessed October 23, 2012
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Denny Rehberg July Quarterly," accessed August 1, 2012
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Denny Rehberg October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2012
  36. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"
  37. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006"