Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana has won a third term, according to the AP.
Tester fended off his Republican challenger, state auditor Matt Rosendale. It was close race which had Rosendale in front when most of the country bed on Tuesday night, before additional votes in key Tester strongholds of the state gave the incumbent the edge.
Tester’s win is a rare bright spot for the Democrats in an election where several red state incumbents were beaten and most of the few pickup opportunities they had have failed to materialize. “I lost some good friends this cycle. [Missouri Sen.] Claire McCaskill and [North.Dakota Sen.] Heidi Heitkamp were two of my best friends,” he said during his victory speech, referencing two Democratic incumbents who lost their seats, “but you know, you move on.”
Tester’s win means the Democrats will have at least 46 seats in the Senate. Races in Arizona and Florida have yet to be called, while a runoff for a seat in Mississippi between Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy will be held next month.
Rosendale’s campaign was buoyed by a strong endorsement from President Trump, who campaigned heavily in the state, hosting two wild, free-wheeling rallies full of lies, conspiracies and propaganda. At one point, the state GOP was forced to apologize after spreading wildly false voting information to Montana residents.
“I’d like to tell you I got a full 12 hours sleep last night but I didn’t,” Tester joked, before taking questions from the press. “I’ve done this 3 times now and they’ve called all of these races at about 11 in the morning,” he added later.
“Montana’s a special state, and Montanans are people who speak loud,” Tester said. “I don’t think they vote for political parties, I think they vote for people.”
Now that his job is done, Tester can get back to his farm.