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Parties battle for control of Montana's only US House seat

Parties battle for control of Montana's only US House seat”

Most of that money has been used to finance a barrage of advertising, much of it negative.

Voting is underway across Montana via absentee ballots, which can be returned by mail or filled out in person at the county election department, while polling places will be open beginning at 8 a.m. on election day.

On a recent weekday afternoon, sheep and other livestock outnumbered fewer than a dozen locals who turned out at an organic farm to hear Democrat Rob Quist and his attack on House Republicans' healthcare overhaul. The Democrat is challenging Republican Greg Gianforte and Libertarian Mark Wicks for Montana's at-large congressional district seat in the upcoming special election. But the red-leaning state is not the lockstep GOP stronghold that Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho are.

It's not as though President Donald Trump isn't a factor; that would be like ignoring the sun during a heat wave.

President Trump recorded a robocall ahead the Montana special House election this week in support of Republican candidate Greg Gianforte.

Gianforte also has consistently said he won't support a bill that "pulls the carpet out from underneath" the 70,000-plus low-income Montanans who've gained coverage through the ACA's expansion of Medicaid.

But neither side has sought to make the race an explicit referendum on the president, or the upheaval that has Washington in fits. Automatic robocalls are illegal in Montana, but the RNC uses a live caller who requests consent to play the calls to comply with state law. "You have to be who you are", he added. That's not just an attempt to hold on to gun owners; it's also a parry of the relentless attacks from Quist asserting that Gianforte wants to privatize Montana's treasured public lands. Republicans got in fright in April when they had to scramble to avoid a loss in deeply conservative Kansas.

Money spent against the candidates is more lopsided.

Gianforte, 56, was born in San Diego, went to college in New Jersey and settled two decades ago in Bozeman. He had previously lent his campaign $1 million. But in a state where hunting and fishing are holy rites, the dispute caused grave political harm.

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One important difference, though, is a less-adept opponent.

"Nancy Pelosi in a cowboy hat", jibed one spot, tying Quist to the liberalism of Democrats' House leader.

The Quist campaign said there were 4,500 people in attendance in Missoula and 3,000 people in Butte.

"One thing I'd be fearful of is that Quist ran as a progressive and therefore Democrats need Sanders candidates", the Democratic operative said. As I said at the beginning, to whom much is given, much is expected.

While Quist avoids mention of Trump - he said nothing the day news broke of the president's alleged effort to stymie an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election - he has made the House Republican health care bill a centerpiece of his campaign. "We have at 10 polls, three were people, the rest were robo polls".

Campus political groups are supporting their preferred congressional candidates across the country to try to maximize their impact on the political environment.

Democratic strategists say the gains they've made in deep-red seats are a effect mostly of the Trump's unpopularity and the GOP's health care bill, the American Health Care Act.

Democrats have put substantial resources into the race to boost Quist, but Republican outside groups have outspent Democrats in the special election. On Thursday Mr. Quist's campaign said he had raised $5 million, including more than 200,000 contributions averaging just under $24.



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