Flathead Beacon: Medicare Takes Center Stage

In recent weeks, supporters of Sen. Jon Tester and Rep. Denny Rehberg have engaged in a game of email tug of war over Medicare, sending early and clear signals that the elderly are expected to play a pivotal role in Montana’s 2012 U.S. Senate race, one of the key senatorial races in the nation.

As Montana State University political scientist David Parker says: “seniors vote.” And in a state with an aging population where nearly one out of every five people depends on Medicare and Social Security, there are abundant and crucial senior citizen votes to court.

“Medicare is a big issue in this race,” Parker, who is writing a book on the campaign, said.

Emails sent by official party organizations, including the campaigns themselves, illustrate the importance both parties are placing on Medicare in Montana. The emails, which have been arriving frequently in the inboxes of supporters and news organizations, tout each side’s candidate — Democratic incumbent Tester and Republican challenger Rehberg — as the real protector of Medicare.

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