Democrat Jon Tester Campaigns Against His Own Record In Montana

From the border to hunting, Jon Tester can't stop attacking political positions staked by Jon Tester
Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, during a hearing in Washington, DS, US, on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. The hearing is set to examine the president's proposed fiscal year 2025 budget request for the Department of Defense.
Credit: Photographer: Allison Robbert/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Montana‘s Jon Tester is running for his fourth term in the U.S. Senate and he’s found himself an interesting political target: his own political record. 

On key issues from illegal immigration to hunting, Tester is openly campaigning against the political positions he took as a lawmaker. The longtime senator has attempted to distance himself from his own record as he likely faces his most difficult campaign yet.

Tester has never been up for reelection with former President Donald Trump, who won Montana by double-digits in both 2016 and 2020, on the other side at the top of the ticket. Montana is expected to be a key battleground state for control of the Senate, as Democrats attempt to maintain their narrow advantage. 

One of the key areas where Tester is going after his own views is on President Joe Biden’s handling of the border. His campaign is showcasing him attacking Biden over the border, and his ads feature positive images of a border wall. In recent years he has not only said Biden was working to secure the border, but also argued that a wall is an ineffective border measure. 

“Jon Tester is working with Republicans to do whatever it takes to finally secure the border,” a campaign spot called “Protect Montana” says. “Tester says this is especially urgent because the opioids trafficked are direct threats to Montana. I’m Jon Tester and you’re damn right I approve this message.”

This differs from his message just a year ago in May 2023, when he praised Biden for his handling of the border on  “Morning Joe” and called for Congress to pass legislation creating a “pathway” to citizenship for illegal immigrants. 

“I think the big issue here is we need to make sure the southern border is secure and I think the President has helped do that,” Tester said on the MSNBC show. 

Another recent ad that shows Tester working across the aisle to address the border crisis features shots of a section of border wall as the narrator says that he “knows defending Montana starts with securing the border.” Back in 2019, Tester said that there was no need for a border wall “from sea to shining sea” and said that a border wall was not going to do much to help stop illegal immigration. 

In another shift, Tester attempted to take credit for the fact that he helped block the Biden administration’s push to pull funding from school hunting programs. The ad features a hunter education teacher praising Tester for opposing Biden’s Department of Education move last summer to block funding for school hunting and archery programs.

The move was enabled by the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a measure that Tester supported.

READ MORE: Montana Democrat Takes Credit For Saving Hunting Program He Himself Voted To Put In Jeopardy

In a similar move, Tester took credit for the IRS’s decision to postpone a requirement that would mandate a special tax form to detail a $600 Venmo or PayPal transaction. The requirement had been part of Biden’s “American Rescue Plan,” which Tester had voted for. 

Tester has also criticized the influence of lobbyists in Washington, but it turns out that he is the second biggest recipient of lobbyist money in the Senate for the 2024 cycle, getting at least $428,088 in contributions from lobbyists.

Tester’s relationship with the revolving door has long been a vulnerability. After he promised not to let lobbyists write legislation, emails emerged last year showing the Montana Democrat let lobbyists write bills. Donors to Tester’s campaign include former Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich and former South Dakota Democratic Senator Tom Daschle, both of whom are now registered as foreign agents. 


Tester, who is running for his fourth term in the Senate, is being challenged by Republican Tim Sheehy, a former Navy Seal. The Montana Democrat did not respond to a request for an interview with The Daily Wire. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Democrat Jon Tester Campaigns Against His Own Record In Montana