Washington Post: Sen. Tester faces formidable challenge in Montana reelection campaign

After three days on the road talking to voters, Jon Tester finally made it home. He rumbled down seven miles of dirt road and pulled up to his wheat farm. He untied his tie, changed into jeans and climbed into his tractor.

Then Tester flipped on the radio. Even here, at peace on his wind-swept homestead — 48 miles from the closest McDonald’s and a world removed from Washington — Tester couldn’t escape his day job.

“Why does Senator Tester side with the big banks and not us?” a man asked over harrowing music in a radio ad.

Listening inside his tractor’s cockpit, the Democratic senator muttered a barnyard expletive and said, “It’s already started.”

What’s started in Montana is a high-stakes 2012 race that will test the staying power of rural Western Democrats in the Obama era and help determine which party will lead the U.S. Senate.

Read the whole article >>