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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Steve Daines Scores Historic Win In U.S. Senate Race

In a historic GOP win Tuesday evening, first-term U.S. Congressman Steve Daines scored a decisive victory over Democratic opponent Amanda Curtis to for one of Montana’s Senate seats.

The Associated Press called the race just after the polls closed.

In the wake of his win, he told MTPR that he would focus on "moving legislation."

"We need to look at what is possible to pass through the Congress and that can be implemented," he said Tuesday night. " We need to make sure we're not just passing symbolic votes."

It was a win political pundits had seen coming since the implosion of U.S. Sen. John Walsh’s campaign amid allegations of plagiarism.

Campaign watchers credit Curtis, a Butte native and first-term state legislator, with fielding a solid campaign despite the late start in fundraising and the lack of statewide name recognition.

Throughout the campaign Daines rarely mentioned Curtis, instead focusing his criticism on President Obama’s handling of the economy, health care and environmental issues.

He also sought to assuage fears of how conservative he is, arguing he is not afraid to cross party lines on critical issues that cannot be reduced to “labels.”

“Sometimes I’ll cast a vote and the folks on the left will be upset,” he said. “Sometimes I cast a vote and the folks on the right will be upset.” He cited his vote for the Violence Against Women Act as one his conservative allies opposed, although 85 other Republicans also voted for the bill’s passage last year.

Curtis had sought to capitalize on Daines’ wealth and conservative positions, using the slogan “One of Us” to highlight her connection to the average Montanan.

“It’s a populist, grassroots effort made by people just like me,” Curtis said. “It’s not a bunch of millionaires trying to protect their fortunes.”

Daines becomes the first Republican to hold one of Montana’s U.S. Senate seats in more than a century.

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