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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Tester In, Rosendale Out For Sunday Debate In Whitefish

Sen. Jon Tester (D) and challenger Matt Rosendale (R).
Montana Public Radio
Sen. Jon Tester (D) and challenger Matt Rosendale (R).

The Montana Broadcasters Association is still planning to hold its Senate candidate debate Sunday in Whitefish, but only one candidate is going to be there.

Republican Matt Rosendale reportedly backed out of the debate after saying he’d be there. His campaign later said the debate conflicted with Rosendale’s Father’s Day plans and it was scheduled without his input.

The broadcasters didn’t invite Green or Libertarian party candidates because they didn’t meet what the organization defines as criteria for “significant candidates.” So, Democrat incumbent Jon Tester is currently the only candidate on the agenda for the event.

Tester is using the initial reports from NBC Montana and ABC Fox that said Rosendale committed to be at the debate as an attack platform.

“I think that it goes to the point that in Montana your word is your bond, so if you say something, you’re going to do something, you do it.  People expect that out of you," Tester says.

Rosendale has responded by challenging Tester to commit to a series of five debates before the November election. Tester said today that he’s willing to talk about lining up future debates, although he didn’t make any commitments.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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