- Associated Press - Friday, October 26, 2018

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The Latest on the U.S. Senate race in Montana (all times local):

11:45 a.m.

A record-smashing $60 million in campaign donations and outside spending has gone into Montana’s contentious U.S. Senate race as Democrats seek to hold on to the seat in a Trump-leaning state.

The Associated Press reviewed campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission to tally the money flowing into the contest between Democratic incumbent Jon Tester and Republican Matt Rosendale.

Even when accounting for inflation, the amount easily tops the state’s prior record of $47 million during Tester’s 2012 re-election campaign against former Rep. Denny Rehberg.

Most of the money has come from spending on both sides by so-called super PACs. Those are political committees that can raise unlimited money and are not bound by individual contribution limits.

Montana is among the least populous states with about 1 million residents.


9:15 a.m.

Conservative groups linked to wealthy donors are saturating Montana airwaves with ads attacking Democratic Sen. Jon Tester as they try to capitalize on President Donald Trump’s feud with the lawmaker.

Campaign filings show the Senate Leadership Fund is backed by Las Vegas gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

It spent more than $1.1 million on anti-Tester ads on Oct. 18 alone.

That’s the day Trump visited western Montana to promote Republican challenger Matt Rosendale and bashed Tester for derailing Veterans Affairs nominee Ronny Jackson.

Rosendale trails in campaign donations. That leaves him dependent on outside groups eager to topple the two-term incumbent and protect Republican control of the Senate.

Tester has avoided taking on Trump directly and instead talks up veterans’ legislation he sponsored that was signed into law by the president.

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