Democratic Sen. Jon Tester Bucks Joe Biden Amid Tough Reelection Fight | EUROtoday

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WASHINGTON ― Sen. Jon Tester has a herculean job this 12 months: win reelection in Montana, a state the place Donald Trump is overwhelmingly common. And not like his 2018 bid for reelection, he’ll be sharing the poll with the previous president this time, making the job all that tougher.

Trump gained Montana by 20 factors in 2016 and by 16 factors in 2020. Endangered Senate Democrats like Tester and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who’re working in purple states, might face even stronger headwinds if Trump attracts excessive numbers of Republican voters to the polls in November.

The three-term incumbent Democratic senator from Montana has been busy drawing contrasts with President Joe Biden’s administration in hopes of boosting his impartial bonafides and attracting split-ticket voters. He’s additionally leaned closely into rural points and key Senate accomplishments, together with laws to enhance the standard of veterans’ well being care.

In an interview, Tester stated he isn’t involved about polling exhibiting Biden trailing Trump badly in Montana and expressed confidence concerning the state of his race in opposition to probably GOP challenger Tim Sheehy, the ex-Navy SEAL backed by Trump. Notably, polls have discovered him working forward of each Sheehy and Biden.

“I feel good. We’re going to run our own race based on my brand,” Tester instructed HuffPost.

“We’ve always done that,” the Carhartt-wearing farmer stated of his latest efforts to distance himself from his get together. “It’s only been magnified because I’m up for reelection.”

Vulnerable Senate Democrat Jon Tester is drawing contrasts with President Joe Biden's administration as he gears up for a tough November reelection fight.
Vulnerable Senate Democrat Jon Tester is drawing contrasts with President Joe Biden’s administration as he gears up for a troublesome November reelection struggle.

Tom Williams by way of Getty Images

The Montana Democrat has bucked his get together prior to now, most notably on the problem of gun restrictions.

Earlier this month, Tester joined Republicans in supporting the Laken Riley Act, turning into the primary Senate Democrat to take action. The GOP immigration invoice, which handed within the House with bipartisan assist, would require federal officers to apprehend and detain undocumented immigrants who commit sure crimes. It was named after a 22-year-old nursing pupil who was killed by a migrant whereas out on a run close to the University of Georgia campus earlier this 12 months.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Tester stated when requested why he determined to assist the invoice.

Tester will get one other probability to tout his assist for border safety when the Senate votes this week on the bipartisan immigration deal that Republicans blocked earlier this 12 months. The GOP walked away from the deal ― which they helped write — on the final minute after Trump instructed them to kill it as a result of he didn’t wish to give Biden an election-year victory. Republican senators have referred to as the brand new effort to advance the invoice a political stunt, vowing to once more oppose it.

But the vote will give weak Democrats like Tester a possibility to hammer Republicans for opposing the conservative immigration insurance policies already written into the invoice, together with permitting the federal government to extra simply expel migrants on the border, prohibit claims for parole and make it considerably more durable for migrants to assert asylum.

Tester has proven an impartial streak on different key points as effectively. He voted final 12 months to dam Biden’s authentic pupil mortgage aid program, becoming a member of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and impartial Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.). This 12 months, he’s supported efforts to dam a number of new Biden administration guidelines, together with on electrical automobiles, nursing houses, and permitting for the importation of beef, a key trade in Montana.

Although the senator has largely centered on home points throughout his tenure on the highly effective Senate Appropriations Committee, he broke with Biden over his risk to withhold some support to Israel if it strikes forward with a army invasion of the southern Gaza metropolis of Rafah, the place greater than 1,000,000 Palestinians are positioned. He instructed CNN earlier this month that Biden ought to launch the help.

Tester and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown are running for another term in states where Trump is overwhelmingly popular.
Tester and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown are working for one more time period in states the place Trump is overwhelmingly common.

Tester has been much more vocal about salient points in Montana, like urgent U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to guard mail operations within the rural state.

The Montana Senate race is vital to the GOP’s plans to retake management of the higher chamber subsequent 12 months. Since Manchin’s West Virginia seat is all however sure to flip after he retires, Republicans have to win only one extra seat to achieve the bulk. Montana and Ohio are considered as their finest bets.

Republicans are already spending tens of tens of millions in adverts hitting Tester, and so they scoff at his strikes to the appropriate on points like immigration as insincere.

“The last conversion I saw like this was Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, instructed HuffPost.

Trump, in the meantime, is taking one other method to the race. He’s mocking Tester’s weight, telling his supporters that the senator “looks pregnant.”

“Have you seen this guy? He doesn’t look like a fat guy, except his stomach is out to here,” Trump stated at a fundraiser this month.

Democrats, in the meantime, are holding on to hope that if anybody can pull it out and save their majority, it’ll be the flat-topped, seven-fingered filth farmer from Big Sky nation who pulled off a slim 2018 victory in opposition to Republican Matt Rosendale with the same technique centered on authenticity.

“They don’t look at Jon as a big Democrat. He’s just original,” Manchin, one other purple state Democrat, stated of Tester. “Being original, no one can help you on that.”

Sen. John Fetterman (Pa.) additionally stated he had confidence in Tester: “He’s a real dude. He’s straight up Mr. Montana.”

“Jon Tester goes back to his farm ― that’s hard work,” added Sen. Raphael Warnock (Ga.), who helped ship Democrats a majority in 2020. “That kind of gritty commitment to work, to the struggles of ordinary people, to managing all of that, that informs his work in the Senate and I think people in Montana see and understand it, and he’s going to win.”