Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-MT) Senate re-election campaign has inflamed controversy several times during the 2018 midterm elections.
Sen. Tester has struck controversy several times over the expanse of the Montana Senate race, as the race has become increasingly competitive between him and Montana state auditor and Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale. A survey released on Sunday revealed that Rosendale leading Tester by three points—49 to 46 percent, while Libertarian candidate Rick Breckenridge has three percent support. Breckenridge has endorsed Rosendale’s campaign for U.S. Senate, calling him the “front man” for the cause of liberty.
Here are five of Tester’s most significant gaffes and scandals during the Montana Senate race.
- TESTER INVENTED THE SMEAR TACTICS SENATE DEMOCRATS USED AGAINST JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH
Rosendale has attacked Tester during the Montana Senate race, explaining that the Montana Democrat created the very tactics Senate Democrats used to smear and defame Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s name during the Supreme Court nomination process.
Rosendale told Breitbart News Saturday Tester designed the strategy when he tanked the nomination of Donald Trump’s personal physician Admiral Ronnie Jackson to serve as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Rosendale charged, “Jon Tester literally invented this tactic of character assassination when he released a bunch of false information about Admiral Ronnie Jackson.”
The Montana conservative continued:
He invented the smear campaign and Dianne Feinstein perfected it. She came out and used the same technique and the tactics to try and destroy Brett Kavanaugh. Thank goodness, president Trump had the courage to stand up there with his man and thank goodness the U.S. Senate Republicans had the courage to continue to confirm him, and honestly thank goodness Brett Kavanaugh and his family had the strength and the faith to endure all of that and stay in there so that he could help our country.
Last week Sen. Tester said that Senate Democrats “botched” the strategy regarding the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. On Friday, one woman who accused Kavanaugh of raping her admitted that she made up the accusation against the Supreme Court nominee.
- PEARL JAM POSTER FEATURES DEAD DONALD TRUMP; TESTER DOES NOT PERSONALLY DISAVOW
In August, Pearl Jam released a poster for a get-out-the-vote concert promoting Tester and featuring a dead President Trump and an American bald eagle eating the remains of his corpse.
Two days after the media shed light on the inflammatory poster, only Tester’s campaign spokesman, Chris Meagher, disavowed the Pearl Jam poster. Tester, a close friend of Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, did not come out and personally condemn the controversial poster.
Rosendale said he found it “very disturbing” that Tester did not personally condemn the poster featuring a dead Donald Trump.
“It’s reprehensible. It’s disturbing. The left has no agenda, so they’re reduced to using outlandish remarks and character assassination and blatant lies to distort reality to con the American people to support them,” Rosendale said.
- TESTER PROFESSES LOVE OF HUNTING DESPITE NOT HAVING A HUNTING LICENSE IN SIX YEARS—THE LAST TIME HE RAN FOR THE SENATE.
In a late October interview with NBC Montana, Tester professed his love of hunting but neglected to mention that he has not had a hunting license in home state for six years.
Sen. Tester said that a gun “is a tool to me, I use it to control pests, I use it when I’m able to go hunting to be able to go hunting, and in butchering animals.”
The last time the Montana Democrat had a hunting license was in 2012—the last time he ran for Montana’s Senate seat.
In contrast, Rosendale has had a hunting license every year since 2002.
Further, the National Rifle Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) endorsed Rosendale for U.S. Senate over Tester, which becomes especially significant considering that the organization declined to endorse either Tester or Republican Denny Rehberg in the 2012 Montana Senate race.
Rosendale tweeted in October, mentioning that Tester has a “D” rating from the NRA, while he has earned an “A” rating from the NRA.
Rosendale wrote, “Oh man, NRA D-Rated @JonTester really stepped in it tonight. Claims he goes hunting but hasn’t had a hunting license in SIX YEARS! Just another Washington liberal ….”
Oh man, NRA D-Rated @JonTester really stepped in it tonight. Claims he goes hunting but hasn't had a hunting license in SIX YEARS! Just another Washington liberal …. #mtsen #mtpol pic.twitter.com/oLEBUsZ8XD
— Matt Rosendale (@MattForMontana) October 25, 2018
- TESTER PROMISES TO FIGHT K STREET LOBBYISTS, YET HE IS NOW A TOP RECIPIENT OF LOBBYISTS’ DONATIONS
In August, Sen. Tester became the number one recipient of lobbyists’ donations during the 2018 election cycle, according to the Center for Response Politics’ Open Secrets database. Although Tester slipped to the third highest recipient of lobbyist cash at $541,018 raised during the 2018 election cycle, his fundraising from K Street lobbyists strikes a stark contrast from his 2006 campaign promise to remain immune from the corrupting influence of money in politics.
“You’ve got to have somebody who will go to Washington, DC, and fight for you. … I won’t sell you down the road by cutting deals with K Street lobbyists. … [Montanans] need the greatest representation not encumbered by high-dollared lobbyists,” Tester said in 2006, when he first ran for U.S. Senate in 2006.
Calvin Moore, a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman, said in a statement on August:
Senator Tester got to Washington and became exactly the kind of swampy career politician he promised Montana he wasn’t going to become. Montanans deserve a Senator who will put their needs first, not another mouthpiece for high-dollar lobbyists and Washington special interests like Jon Tester.
- CROW TRIBE ENDORSES ROSENDALE FOR SENATE, TESTER CLAIMS ENDORSEMENT INSTEAD
Last week, Crow Tribe chairman A.J. Not Afraid endorsed Rosendale for the U.S. Senate and said that Rosendale and the White House better serve the needs of the Crow Tribe compared to Tester.
Not Afraid said in a statement in October:
In order for the longevity of the tribe, to surpass my life existence, we need to do something about it now – fits the direction of Rosendale and President Trump. Fits the agenda of the Crow Tribe, both domestically and internationally … That agenda fits the Crow today, to side with the Administration and Matt Rosendale.
However, at a rally in October, Tester claimed that the Crow Tribe endorsed him for the U.S. Senate.
“I’m not sure about that. Last I heard the Crow Tribe endorsed me. Their chairman may have done something different,” Tester suggested.
Contrary to Tester’s claims, a Crow Tribe spokesperson told NBC Montana that the Crow Tribe did, in fact, endorse Rosendale for U.S. Senate.
“As the Chairman, his endorsement is representative of the Crow Tribe,” the spokesperson said. “So, yes, the Crow Tribe and/or the Chairman has endorsed Matt Rosendale.”
BONUS: JON “COW ASSASSIN” TESTER
In October, a video emerged of Tester allegedly shooting a cow, which led David to rhetorically ask, “Who should they cast to star in the ‘Jon Tester: Cow Assassin’ franchise?”
Shocked none of the outside groups picked up on the obvious cow-shooting closing argument that was hiding in plain B-roll sight. pic.twitter.com/yDhXgjO8Fk
— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) October 10, 2018
who should they cast to star in the "Jon Tester: Cow Assassin" franchisehttps://t.co/khwWqfj4np
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) October 10, 2018