Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate confirms Trump’s watchdog for coronavirus funds Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE (D-Mont.) launched the first TV ad of his reelection campaign on Monday, highlighting 13 of his bills that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE has signed into law.
Tester is running for a third term in a state Trump carried by more than 20 points in the 2016 presidential election and is one of 10 Democratic senators up for reelection this year in a state that Trump won in 2016.
The 30-second spot runs through the 13 pieces of legislation that were signed into law. They’re predominantly focused on veterans. Tester is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
ADVERTISEMENTOne of those examples includes a bill that makes it easier to fire employees accused of misconduct at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which Trump signed into law last June.
“Washington’s a mess, but that’s not stopping me from getting bills to help Montana signed into law by President Trump,” Tester says in the ad.
“I’m out of fingers,” Tester says holding up his left hand, which has three fingers missing from a meat grinder accident when Tester was young. “But I’m not finished getting things done for Montana.”
While Tester is a well-known lawmaker in his state, he could still face a tough race. Tester has never won more than 50 percent in any of his previous Senate bids.
Tester’s ad previews how red-state Democrats will likely navigate this year’s midterm elections in places where Trump remains popular.
But Tester was the only red-state Democrat up for reelection who voted against the short-term spending bill to end the government shutdown back in January.
It’s unclear which Republican candidate Tester will face in the general election.
State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R) is seen as the top candidate in the race, but he’ll have to get through a competitive June primary that features several other Republicans, including businessman Troy Downing and Russ Fagg, a retired district judge.
The Senate GOP’s campaign arm — the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) — pushed back on the ad, pointing to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis that Tester didn’t vote in line with Trump’s position a majority of the time as of February.
“Jon Tester’s first campaign ad is so disingenuous it should be insulting to Montanans who voted for President Trump,” Katie Martin, the NRSC’s communications director, said in a statement.
FiveThirty Eight’s analysis found that Tester has voted in line with Trump 36 percent of the time. But a CQ analysis from February found that the senator voted with the president 52 percent of the time.
Updated at 1:59 p.m.