In Montana, the latest averaged polls from Real Clear Politics show Mitt Romney leading by 9% over President Obama. The Rasmussen Reports also report Romney ahead 53% to 43% in a recent telephone poll. According to a local paper, a record number of absentee ballots have been cast already. “The Secretary of State's Office says 303,321 people had requested absentee ballots through Friday and 239,357, or nearly 79 percent, had been returned.” Montana consistently has the highest voter turnout in the country, so it’s all but guaranteed that Montana will go to former Governor Romney in this traditionally conservative state.
Montana has 3 electoral votes and 1 at-large congressional district.
The U.S. Senate race in Montana is also close, as incumbent Jon Tester (D) is trying to fend off a strong challenge from Congressman Denny Rehberg:
Montana has several important referendum proposals the ballot today. The state initiatives read like a national roster of hot button domestic social issues. According to the state election site, LR-120 (HB 627) is a, “Referendum to require parental notification prior to abortion for a minor, providing for judicial waiver of notification, repealing prior statutes, and providing penalties.” LR-121 seeks to deny state services to illegal immigrants. LR-122 could overturn federally mandated health care. IR-124 determines the status of medical marijuana, and 1-166 determines the right of corporations to seek personhood status. Montana is not only refusing to shy away from controversial debates, it’s putting the decision directly in the hands of voters via referendum. Whether Montana citizens vote conservative or liberal on these issues, they will all have done so fiercely independent.
The gubernatorial race between Rick Hill (R) and Steve Bullock (D) generated controversy after a judge banned Hill from using a $500,000 disputed denotation, of unknown origins, in the final stretch of the campaign. Hill was forced to shut down advertising and campaigning for several days, according to the Independent Record. The scandal has also generated debate over campaign finance regulations, and government oversight, both potentially opening the field to Libertarian candidate Ron Vandevender.
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