Montana Public Radio

Montana Election: A Long Night Of Waiting

Nov 7, 2018

Updated at 9 a.m. Check our Live Election Results for the most up to date information.

Not all of Montana's precincts have fully reported this morning so in some cases we don't know much more than we did by the time many people went to bed last night.

Here's what we do know:

Democrat Jon Tester and Republican Matt Rosendale are still tightly locked in Montana's U.S. Senate race that is too close to call with votes still being counted. With 563 of 669 precincts fully reporting, or 84 percent,  Rosendale maintains a point lead over Tester at this hour - 49 percent to Tester's 48 percent.

This is what Rosendale told supporters last night at about 11 p.m.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale tells supporters at his election watch party shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday to get ready for a long night. Nov. 6, 2018
Credit Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

"It looks like it's going to be a long night. They're going to be driggling and drabbing votes in for quite some time now, and that's why we really wanted to come out and address everybody and come out here and spend some time with you, because I just don't know how long it's going to take."

Tester told his backers:

"We've been here this is no surprise."

Tester is seeking a third term and faced a stiff challenge after President Donald Trump took a personal interest in defeating him. Rosendale's campaign got a boost from the President's repeated trips to a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016.

Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte, meanwhile, maintains his lead over Democratic challenger Kathleen Williams, but votes are still being counted for Montana's only U.S. House seat.

Greg Gianforte addresses the crowd at his campaign watch party late Tuesday night as his wife Susan looks on.
Credit Nate Hegyi / Yellowstone Public Radio

With 564 of Montana's 669 precincts reporting Ginaforte has 53 percent of the vote to Williams' 44 percent.

Gianforte made his last public remarks last night just before midnight:

"At this point in time, we have more votes than anyone else on the ballot in Montana. And I am confident that we're going to win this race, so that we can let the officials have a little more time to count the ballots, so we’ll find out in the morning. I just want to say again, thank you for all  your support, I am confident we are going to win this race."

Montana Public Radio's Nora Saks caught up with Kathleen Williams late last night.

Nora Saks: At this juncture in time, with things so tight with Congressman Gianforte, is there anything that you’re looking back on and wishing you had done differently?

Kathleen Williams: I don’t think so. I think we ran the campaign we wanted to run. We kept, you know, pretty high road and didn’t resort to fabrications and fear mongering. That’s not something I would do.  And so, that will be the test - is whether this campaign that took the high road and did a lot of retail politics, as they say, shaking hands and meeting people, whether that’s successful against a campaign that really was quite the opposite.

Crowd at the Kathleen Williams watch party in Bozeman Tuesday night. Nov. 6, 2018.
Credit Nora Saks / MTPR

Election officials are still counting votes for ballot issues on extending the state's expanded Medicaid program by raising the tobacco tax and on imposing new cleanup standards on mines.

Too many votes are still outstanding this morning to call those measures, but as of this hour both are failing. I-185: 55 percent to 45 percent and I-186: 59-percent to 41-percent.