GOP gets top tier challenger in Montana
February 1st, 2011
09:47 AM ET
12 years ago

GOP gets top tier challenger in Montana

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Denny Rehberg is expected to announce that he is running for Senate, giving Republicans a strong challenger in Montana to Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat elected in 2006.

The congressman will make his candidacy official on Saturday, a Republican with knowledge of Rehberg's decision confirms to CNN. The Republican would only speak on the condition of anonymity.

Rehberg was first elected to the House in 2000 and was easily re-elected in 2010.

Five years ago, Tester defeated Sen. Conrad Burns, a Republican who was seeking a fourth term to the Senate, by more than 3,500 votes.

But Rehberg's entry into the race provides Republicans the strongest challenger the party could field against the Democratic incumbent. In many ways, Rehberg acts like a senator and has statewide name recognition because he is the only congressman representing Montana. Congressional districts are based on population and Montana only has one House seat.

The GOP has won Montana in the past two presidential election cycles, although then-candidate Barack Obama outperformed the 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry by 17 percentage points.

Democrats, who control the Senate majority, must defend 22 seats in 2012, compared to the 10 seats Republicans currently hold.

Filed under: 2012 • Montana
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Republicans = Fascists

    The Senate will remain in Democrats control in 2012. Who cares about Montana?!?!

    February 1, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    When Montanans learn that the republicans are going to destroy the mandate, thus eliminating social security, they will be partying til the cows come home.

    February 1, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. FedUpnMT

    Rehberg is a lousy congrssman and would make an even worse Senator! No thanks...I like Jon Tester just fine, thank you!

    February 1, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    For the republican base, the crazier the candidate, the better his chances.

    February 1, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Tester is quite vulnerable. Rehberg will be a big challenge.

    February 1, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. gt

    tester was lock step with obama.....just becasue he still wears a flat top wont hide his liberal voting record,,,, left wing votes wont play well in big sky country....

    February 1, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Zip

    God help this country if the GOP ever gains 60 seats in the Senate. They will alter this country in ways the average person does not understand and there will be no going back. Pray that common sense prevails.

    February 1, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    Well, looks like the Democrats can kiss this seat good bye as well! If Obama thought 2010 was a shellacking for the Democrat party, 2012 will see the Democrat party dessimated. The progressive socialists that have hijacked the Democrat party will send the party into oblivion as the only ones left standing will be the very far leftists from leftist strongholds like San Francisco.

    February 1, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Rickster

    Bye-bye Tester.........yet another victim of Obamacare, a law that has cost the democrats dozens of seats and millions of votes and, to top it all off, the law is going to be declared unconstitutional and, therefore, void. Heckuva job, Barry!

    February 1, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Another one bites the dust... and another one gone, another one gone, another one bites the dust....

    February 1, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |