Embattled Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) dropped his first TV ad Tuesday, a minute-long spot that accuses wealthy out-of-staters of driving up the cost of living in Montana.
Tester, the first Senate Democrat to go on TV, touts his three-generations-deep roots in Big Sandy, Mont., and bemoans rising costs and loss of access to public lands. In the ad, Tester appears to take a veiled shot at his potential GOP challenger, Tim Sheehy, an aerospace executive who plans to self-fund a run for Tester’s Senate seat.
“Folks back in Washington and even some folks moving here don’t understand, or frankly don’t care, about what’s happening out here,” he says in the ad. “I’m defending our way of life with everything I’ve got.”
Democrats in Montana have sought to cast Sheehy as a carpetbagger from Minnesota, setting up a website with the URL “TransplantTim.com.” Sheehy is a veteran who founded a successful aerial fire fighting business in Montana after leaving the military.
Montana is a top target for Republicans hoping to reclaim the Senate. It is one of three Democratic-held Senate seats up in a state that Donald Trump carried in 2020. Sheehy is the preferred recruit of national Republicans, including Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the chair of the Senate GOP campaign arm.
Tester is a strong fundraiser who has banked $13 million as of September. He’s deploying that largesse to go on air early, offering an early preview into his election messaging.