AP: Tester raises more than $1M in first quarter

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester reported Thursday that he raised more than $1 million in the first quarter of his heavyweight matchup against U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, more than doubling up his challenger’s figure in the first months of what could be one of the most expensive races in state history.

Montana’s Republican congressman announced early in the year he would challenge the first-term Democratic senator in 2012. The race may be one of a handful that could determine control of the U.S. Senate, and a recent poll showed Rehberg and Tester about even.

Rehberg’s challenge to Tester sets up a contest between the undisputed leader of the Montana Republican Party and a populist Democratic senator who in his first term has returned home to work on his Big Sandy farm on weekends. Both parties expect a multi-million dollar slugfest that is sure to be a marquee race as Republicans try to make more gains around the country.

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