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The proposed text presents a detailed case study of the US Senate race in Montana in 2012 and is intended for use as a supplement in courses on campaigns and elections, the US Congress, and American Government. This race is of particular interest because it was one of only a few competitive races in 2012 and because of the impact of Citizens United and so-called “dark money” on the campaign. Furthermore, the setting in Montana offers a view into the rising political influence of the West, the importance of “place” in politics, and the impact of congressional styles and constituent relationships on campaigns and elections. The author, David C.W. Parker, was granted exceptional access by both campaigns over the 21 months preceding the election, allowing him to tell the story of the race in fascinating detail. Throughout the narrative, Parker will weave in political analysis and place the race in the broader context of congressional elections and the research literature.

Denny Rehberg: A Man in a Hurry
Denny rehberg: A man in a hurry

Working against Tester's reelection bid was Montana's conservative electorate. Montana may consider itself to be fiercely independent, but in presidential and some federal elections, Republican candidates do well. When Jon Tester barely beat Conrad Burns in 2006, the state's lone congressman, Republican Denny Rehberg, coasted to reelection with 59 percent of the vote. Two years earlier, George W. Bush had cleaned up with nearly 60 percent of the vote. In 2008, even with an economy in freefall and voters blaming Republicans, John McCain still managed to beat Barack Obama by two percentage points. Charlie Cook's Partisan Voting Index (PVI) is one way to gauge the partisanship of voters. Cook averages the ...

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