Jon Tester

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Jon Tester
Jon Tester.jpg
U.S. Senate, Montana
In office
January 3, 2007-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2019
Years in position 8
PredecessorConrad Burns (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 2018
Campaign $$13,395,778
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Montana State Senate
Bachelor'sUniversity of Great Falls
Date of birthAugust 21, 1956
Place of birthHavre, Montana
ProfessionOrganic Farmer
Net worth$1,141,002
ReligionChurch of God (Anderson)
Office website
Campaign website
Jon Tester (b. August 21, 1956, in Havre, Montana) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from Montana. Tester was first elected to the Senate in 2006.

Tester ran unopposed in the Democratic primary in 2012 and defeated Denny Rehberg (R) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[1] Tester won re-election on November 6, 2012.[2]

Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Tester was a member of the Montana State Senate.[3]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Tester


Tester was born in Havre, Montana, near the town of Big Sandy, Montana, on the land that his grandfather homesteaded in 1916.[4] In 1978, he graduated from the University of Great Falls with a B.S. in music. He then worked for two years as a music teacher in the Big Sandy School District before returning to his family's farm and custom butcher shop.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Tester's academic, professional and political career:[3]

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Tester serves on the following Senate committees:[5]

  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Department of Homeland
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
  • Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment
    • Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Members
    • Subcommittee on Economic Policy
  • Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations, and the District of Columbia
    • Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce
    • Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
  • Committee on Indian Affairs - Chairman
  • Committee on Veterans' Affairs


  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
    • Subcommittee on Homeland Security
    • Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Legislative Branch

Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[6] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Tester's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[7]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "Yes" Tester voted for the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[8]


No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" Tester voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[9]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[10] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Tester voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[11]


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "No" Tester voted against Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[12]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "Yes" Tester voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[13]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Tester voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[14]


On The Issues Vote Match

Jon Tester's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of all Congressional members based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Tester is a Moderate Populist. Tester received a score of 38 percent on personal issues and 34 percent on economic issues.[15]

Note: We are working to resolve inaccuracies with this information. Thank you for your patience.

On The Issues organization logo.

Fundraiser for Walsh

Tester and Max Baucus held a fundraiser in November 2013 for Democrat John Walsh, who will be running for Montana's U.S. Senate seat in 2014. Baucus will not be seeking re-election. The fundraiser will feature Democrat Chuck Schumer from New York. This fundraiser angered Democrat John Bohlinger, who will be challenging Walsh in the primary. He said, "I am really troubled by the involvement of the Washington insiders in a Montana Democratic senatorial primary race. They should have no business of trying to influence an outcome of an election here." Bohlinger continued to blast D.C. donors saying, "I’ll be raising money, but it will be far lesser amounts than the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (of Washington, D.C.) will pour into Walsh’s campaign fund. Mine will be money that comes from Montanans. I’m really offended by the DSCC and their interest in this (primary)."[16]



See also: United States Senate elections in Montana, 2012

Tester ran for re-election in 2012. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. Denny Rehberg defeated Dennis Teske in the Republican primary on June 5, 2012.[1]

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.[17] 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.[17] The article notes that incumbent Tester is a slight underdog against challenger Denny Rehberg.[17]

On May 4, 2012, [1] reported that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had purchased nearly $3 million in Montana broadcast time from late August through the November general election to help re-elect Tester. According to Politico, "the DSCC's early commitment to fall spending in the race indicated a level of confidence in the Democrat against a less-examined challenger. Given the map of seats the Democrats needed to win to maintain the majority, the DSCC clearly thought Tester was a wise investment."[18]

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.[19]

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

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, raised a total of $13,395,778 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 24, 2013.[21]

Jon Tester's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. Senate (Montana) Won $13,395,778
Grand Total Raised $13,395,778


Breakdown of the source of Tester's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Tester won election to the U.S. Senate election in 2012. During that election cycle, Tester's campaign committee raised a total of $13,376,360 and spent $13,328,572.[22]

Cost per vote

Tester spent $56.73 per vote received in 2012.

Out-of-state donations

According to an Open Secrets report, Tester ranked among the top ten senate candidates receiving out-of-state donations during the 2012 election cycle. He received $6,057,952, or 77.6%, of his donations from outside of Montana.[23]

Personal Gain Index

See also: Personal Gain Index
Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png

The aim of the Personal Gain Index (PGI) is to shine a light on how members of the U.S. Congress may benefit from their tenure as public servants. Researchers at the Government Accountability Institute will look at four different metrics pointing to aspects of self-enrichment.
The PGI will consist of the following metrics:

  • Net worth
    • How much did a member's net worth increase or decrease over a specified period?
  • The K-Street metric (coming soon)
    • What percentage of a member's staff were previously lobbyists?
  • Donation concentration (coming soon)
    • What industries are contributing the most to each member?
  • Stock trading (coming soon)
    • What stocks are each member holding in their portfolio?

PGI: Net worth

See also: Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Tester's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $766,004 and $1,565,000. That averages to $1,165,502, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Tester ranked as the 63rd most wealthy senator in 2012.[24] Between 2006 and 2012, Tester's net worth increased by 33.6 percent. Between 2004 and 2012, the average increase in the net worth of a congressman was 72.6 percent.

Jon Tester Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2006 to 2012:34%
Average annual growth:6%[25]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[26]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.


Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[27]

Tester most often votes with:

Tester least often votes with:

Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Tester is a "centrist Democrat," as of July 1, 2013.[28]

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Tester missed 15 of 1,935 roll call votes from Jan 2007 to Apr 2013, which is 0.8% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.[29]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Tester paid his congressional staff a total of $2,492,099 in 2011. He ranked 12th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 41st overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Montana ranked 28th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[30]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


According to the data released in 2013, Tester was ranked the 41st most liberal senator during 2012.[31]


According to the data released in 2012, Jon Tester was ranked the 41st most liberal senator during 2011.[32]

Voting with party


Jon Tester voted with the Democratic Party 81.5% of the time, which ranked 47th among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[33]


Tester is married to Sharla Tester, with whom he has two children, Christine and Shon.[4]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Jon + Tester + Montana + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Jon Tester News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Montana Secretary of State, "Election Results" accessed June 5, 2012
  2. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Montana"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Jon Tester," accessed July 1, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Jon Tester: The Right Man to Represent Montana." Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  5. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List" accessed January 22, 2013
  6. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  8. Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  9. Project Vote Smart, "HR 325 - To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  10. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  11., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  12. Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  13. Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  14. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" accessed January 4, 2013
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ontheissues
  16., "Bohlinger criticizes Baucus, Tester for early backing of Walsh in U.S. Senate race," accessed November 12, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Center for Politics, "Tilting the Toss Ups – the Eight Races That Will Decide the Senate" accessed April 9, 2012
  18. Politico, "DSCC buys nearly $3 million in fall time for Tester race" May 7, 2012
  19. Daily Kos, "Libertarians provided the margin for Democrats and at least nine elections," November 15, 2012
  20. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  21. Open Secrets, "Donor history for Jon Tester" April 2013
  22. Open Secrets, " 2012 Election Cycle," accessed March 2013
  23. OpenSecrets, "More than 60 Lawmakers Relied Mostly on Out-of-State Money," May 7, 2013
  24. OpenSecrets, "Tester, (D-MT), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  25. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  26. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  27. OpenCongress, "Jon Tester," accessed August 8, 2013
  28. GovTrack, "Jon Tester," accessed July 1, 2013
  29. GovTrack, "Jon Tester" accessed April 2013
  30. LegiStorm, "Jon Tester"
  31. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  32. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  33. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Conrad Burns
United States Senate - Montana
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Montana Senate
Succeeded by
Jim Shockley