Democrats May Be About To Flip Montana's At-Large House Seat

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Sen. Bernie Sanders spent the weekend barnstorming Montana for Democratic candidate Rob Quist, and by Monday, the House special election in the state had been moved closer to being a toss up.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) traveled to Montana yesterday to campaign in support of Rob Quist, the Democratic candidate in the state's congressional special election.

Gianforte, a businessman who made millions when he sold his tech company to Oracle, recently welcomed Donald Trump Jr.at his campaign event.

It's a recurring nightmare of a pattern for Republicans around the country, as traditional GOP strongholds prove more hard and expensive for the party to hold than it ever anticipated when President Donald Trump plucked House members like Ryan Zinke, the former Montana Republican now running the Interior Department, for his Cabinet.

Each candidate has raised about $3 million.

The upcoming Special Election for Montana's one and only member of Congress is of great importance to all.

Most of that money has been used to finance a barrage of advertising, much of it negative. "Privately, national Democrats are a bit more skeptical of the prospect of an upset - instead looking ahead to next month's special election runoff in Georgia as their chance to send a shockwave through the political system", NPR reported.

Republican strategists say they're anxious that the race has tightened, while national Democrats say their polling shows the race has remained out of reach.

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Wicks has said that drug companies shouldn't be able to sell drugs overseas for anything less than they charge in this country, while Quist says the United States should allow re-importation of drugs from less-expensive markets, like Canada, and that Medicare should be able to bargain directly with the industry for lower drug prices.

The votes may well be bellwethers on a key issue facing millions of Americans: health care. But this unassuming rural Montana area has had almost flawless accuracy in predicting Montana's federal and gubernatorial statewide elections over the past two decades.

But rural areas in the northern part of the county vote overwhelmingly for Republican candidates. Democrats exploited the notion, portraying Gianforte as an outsider and elitist, embodied by a lawsuit he filed over public access to a popular fishing spot on his property on the East Gallatin River.

Recent polls suggest Quist has cut Gianforte's lead to single digits, giving Montana Democrats hope of capturing a seat they haven't held in decades. It will be the first major race since House Republicans passed their highly criticized health-care bill. The software entrepreneur turned political contender also attacked his Democratic opponent Rob Quist's authenticity.

Democrats have tried to spin Quist's financial struggles, arguing that those tough times have allowed him to better understand the lives of everyday Montanans.

And while Quist has barely mentioned Trump, he's run hard against the GOP's unpopular plan to repeal Obamacare, a plan that Gianforte has hemmed and hawed about. Essmann wrote in a letter to fellow Republicans in February that mail-in ballots unfairly favor Democrats.

Republicans may win in Montana, but at what cost?

Roll Call columnist Walter Shapiro is a veteran of Politics Daily, USA Today, Time, Newsweek and The Washington Post.

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