Vulnerable Montana Dem senator advised to retire on ‘his own terms’ or ‘lose’

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is up for reelection in 2024 and his seat is considered to be perhaps the most vulnerable given that he is the only Democrat to hold statewide office in the red state of Montana.

With Republican prospects of regaining control of the Senate looking better in 2024 than they did in 2022, the GOP is dead set on flipping “Big Sky Country” and Tester is being advised to resign so he can go out on “his own terms.”

“If the last two election cycles are any indication, running as a Democrat in 2024 statewide in Montana is a bleak endeavor,” former Republican Senate and House leadership adviser AshLee Strong, a Montana native, told Fox News.

“Republicans now hold all constitutional offices, have a supermajority in the state legislature, and hold three of the four federal offices,” she said. “Retiring would allow Sen. Tester to leave on his own terms.”

As for Tester, he has been reluctant to commit to running for reelection. When pressed on the issue Sunday during an appearance on the Democrat-friendly NBC program “Meet the Press,” the Democrat refused to say whether he would run in 2024. A spokesperson for the senator’s office told Fox News that the senator would make a final determination after the New Year.

The Montana seat is not the only one that could flip in the next election but is surely at the top of the list.

“Democrats will face strong headwinds elsewhere in the country as they try to maintain a razor-thin Senate majority in the 2024 elections,” Fox News reported. “The party will be defending 23 of the 34 Senate seats up for grabs next cycle. Of the 23 Democratic incumbents up for re-election, seven represent states won by former President Trump in either 2016 or 2020.”

Tester told host Chuck Todd that he believes his party’s “very bad” messaging cost Democrats support in rural America in the midterm elections, and said they need “to focus our message more on the things we’re doing for rural America.”

“I’ve been able to do a lot of good things, working with other people in a bipartisan way in the United States Senate, working for small businesses and working families, and family farm agriculture. That’s what I’m going to be talking about as a record of accomplishment if I choose to run,” he said.

Not that Tester exuded confidence.

“And if we’re able to do that and get that message out effectively, I will win as I’ve won in the past,” he continued. “If we’re not effective in that, of course, then it’s going to be a different outcome.”

The senator added, “If I decide to run in this thing, and it’ll be a discussion that I have with my family over the holidays because it is a big undertaking, I feel good about my chances.”

He would cite a pair of bills he has “that deal with big packers and meat consolidation,” as well as the infrastructure package while talking about messaging.

“It’s going to help rural America big time when it comes to broadband, and electrical distribution, and roads, and bridges,” Tester said. “We didn’t talk about it. We didn’t talk about it from a rural perspective. It has to be a concentrated effort, and we are very bad at message. And we need to work at that and get that message out to rural America, so rural America knows who’s fighting for them.”

Montana GOP Chairman Don “K” Kaltschmidt told Fox that it “sounds like Sen. Tester is trying to decide whether to retire or lose,” in response to Tester’s NBC interview.


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