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Jon Tester: Report From the Front


Greetings, FDL readers. This is Matt Singer. I’m a Montana blogger who has been actively working with Jon Tester’s campaign this past year. These days I’m volunteering for Jon in Billings, the Ohio of Montana. This is the swing city that will determine the fall election. And let me tell you, it’s a damn exciting place to be right now. (For those of you who missed Howie Klein’s excellent writeup on the race last week, let me recommend the briefer on Tester that Markos did, including my comparison of Tester and his DLC opponent on the issues.)

I grew up in this town. Billings is not the sort of place where you see energy all the time. But as soon as I hit the ground to help out with Jon Tester’s campaign, signs of life have been cropping up all over the place. Late Saturday night, I got a phone call. The latest poll in the race showed us down by a single point. We were down 19 in January. We’ve got the momentum and 15% of voters were still undecided. Now we’re making the volunteer phone calls. We’ve got full-up phone banks, lit drops, and a huge rally coming up this Saturday. Retired U.S. Senator John Melcher (our primary opponent’s former boss) is coming down to lend Jon Tester a hand.

Let me tell you — this energy isn’t just in Billings. Missoula, the progressive hotbed of Missoula, has been ticking for Tester for sometime. In that town, you can hardly tell this primary is even contested. Last week, I was dropping literature for Tester in Helena, just blocks from Morrison’s house. Jon Tester had twice as many lawn signs as John Morrison. Along the way, I had a couple conversations. An independent builder chased me out of his house handing me money and asking for yard signs. A retired woman from Havre expressed faith in Jon Tester, saying that she could trust any man from north central Montana. She took a yard sign. A couple houses later, a highway patrolman handed my lit back. He told me not to waste it on supporters — Tester already had every vote in the house.

The word is spreading. We’ve got the momentum. Now, Jon Tester is trying to finish his media buys today. Montana is a cheap media market. Even a small donor can buy radio and TV spots. Please, give generously . This isn’t just about beating a Republican. It’s about electing a Democrat who is right on health care, right on the war in Iraq, right on privacy and civil liberties. Jon Tester is that Democrat.

All right, I gotta get back to work.

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Matt Singer

Matt Singer