Sen. Jon Tester Fields Tough Questions at Whitefish ‘Debate’; Rosendale Refuses to Show Up

Billings—Yesterday, farmer and United States Senator Jon Tester fielded tough questions on the issues Montanans care about for nearly an hour during what was originally intended to be the first debate of the 2018 election.

East Coast developer Matt Rosendale told Montanans at the outset that he would attend the Montana Broadcasters Association debate in Whitefish, but days before it was scheduled to take place, Rosendale went back on his word, bailing on giving Montanans the opportunity to hear his positions on the important issues. This in the same week Rosendale was not doing his actual job, instead spending three work days in Washington, DC campaigning.

Going back on your word may fly on the East Coast, but here in Montana, our word is our bond. Third-generation Montanan Jon Tester kept his word and showed up in Whitefish, as promised, to give voters the chance to hear about how he plans to fight for Montana. Take a look at what folks are saying about yesterday:


Great Falls Tribune—Tester fields questions solo after Rosendale declines debate
“The Montana Broadcasters’ Association notified candidates 1 ½ months ago of the debate in Whitefish. Tester, who is running for a third term, decided to attend even after State Auditor Matt Rosendale pulled out last week. Tester sat in an armchair answering questions from association chairman Ron Davis for about 40 minutes.”

MTPR—Sen. Tester answers questions at Whitefish ‘debate’
“The Montana Broadcasters Association made a last minute pivot Sunday morning from a debate format to more of a moderated town hall when it became clear only Senator Jon Tester would be participating. Tester, who’s running for a third term, fielded questions from broadcasters at the Whitefish Lake Lodge for a little less than an hour on topics ranging from energy and climate change, to border security, to making health care more affordable.”

KGVO—Tester talks with area broadcasters after Rosendale skips debate
“On the day when a debate scheduled by the Montana Broadcasters Association between incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester and his Republican opponent Matt Rosendale did not occur, Tester showed up and spoke at length with broadcast news reporters […] Tester said Rosendale and the public missed a golden opportunity to compare the two candidates.”

Missoulian—Tester addresses border, health care among issues in solo ‘debate’
“Last week, however, Rosendale declined to participate […] Rather than taking on his opponent, Montana’s senior senator spent about 40 minutes answering questions.”

NBC Montana—Tester participates in solo Q and A session
“The hosts planned the event as a debate between Tester and Matt Rosendale but Rosendale backed out […] The Montana Broadcaster’s Association turned Sunday’s event into a Q&A session with Tester as a result. Topics covered included the Affordable Care Act, rural suicide rates and border security.”

Daily Inter Lake—Sen. Tester Tackles Issues in Whitefish
“The event was originally planned as a debate between Tester and his Republican opponent, current State Auditor Matt Rosendale, but Rosendale declined the event six days before it occurred […] ‘I think it’s very unfortunate,’ Tester said of the fact that he was the only candidate on the stage Sunday. ‘This is going to be a very important election.’”